It’s been five days now since the cable TV digitisation process kicked off, however, the switchover has been far from smooth. As per various reports, there are still pockets in Mumbai and Delhi which are receiving analogue signals or where the TV screens have gone blank.
It is learnt that the South and East Delhi areas are still receiving analogue signals, while. In Mumbai, the Mumbai Cable Operators Association has pegged the number of households yet to get set top boxes installed at 6 lakh. The Association is also planning to approach the Supreme Court seeking extension of the digitisation deadline till December 31, 2012. It may be recalled that on the eve of the sunset date of October 31, the Bombay High Court had turned down a petition to extend the deadline.
Meanwhile, the court supported digitisation deadline for Chennai comes to an end on November 5, 2012. It remains to be seen how much of the Southern metro will be covered in the first phase of digital switchover. A hearing of the Chennai Metro Cable Operators’ Association is scheduled at the Madras High Court on November 5.
In a significant development, the Mamata Banerjee Government in West Bengal, which has been opposing the digitisation move, calling it anti-poor, is now extending its support to the digital switchover. It may be recalled that despite the end of the digitisation deadline on October 31, 2012, Kolkata has been continuing with analogue signal alongside digital signal.
The West Bengal Government will be making an announcement soon, asking customers to get their set top boxes installed. In preparation of this move, MSOs in Kolkata will be carrying out genre-wise switch-off of analogue signals. Also, the MSOs have agreed to design packages keeping in mind the budgets of below poverty line households.
Cable operators fear that a prolonged blacking out of television will push customers to go for DTH connections.