With just 23 days left for the March 31, 2013 deadline for Phase II of cable digitisation, as per Government data, there is a stock of 2.3 million set top boxes with the MSOs and LCOs. The second phase will see more than 16 million home come under the digitization umbrella. As per the latest data available, as of last week, around 8.77 million homes have already been digitised.
The government is quite confident about meeting the March 31 deadline and sees very less chance of the deadline being postponed, as had happened in DAS Phase I.
On the other hand, cable operators are painting a different picture. According to the cable operators in cities such as Patna, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Nagpur and Jaipur, till date only 30 per cent of the set top box installations have been completed. Despite Government assurances, cable operators feel that the deadline will have to be postponed to complete all STB installations.
On top of everything, the hike in import duties of set top boxes from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, as announced in the Union Budget for 2013-14, has come as a nasty surprise for the industry.
Supporting the hike in duties, Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary, MIB said, “This will give a push to the local manufacturing industry, which is a very good thing for a country like us and it is a matter of pride that our country is going to be benefitted.”
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