The digitisation process in Chennai is proving to be a tough nut to crack. The Southern metro has already seen three postponements of the Digital Addressable System (DAS) deadline. The next hearing at the Madras High Court is scheduled for November 19, 2012, but industry experts doubt whether any firm decision would be taken.
Meanwhile, the installation of set top boxes (STBs) is yet to gather pace. Customers are still not purchasing the STBs. This is mostly due to the fact that customers are not sure which operator to buy the STBs from. On the one hand, there are private players such as Jack Communications and Sun network, which have considerable market presence, and on the other hand, there is the Tamil Nadu Government owned Arasu Cable.
Speaking on the current scenario in Chennai, MR Srinivasan, General Secretary, Chennai Metro Cable TV Operators Association (CMCOA) remarked, “The issue is very critical and the I&B Ministry needs to take a stand and come up with some rapid action plan. The Government also needs to keep in mind the poor families who can’t afford the set top boxes.”
He suggested setting up a monitoring committee to keep an eye on the digitisation process in Chennai and provide clarity. “A daily analysis of the installation of STBs will provide the correct figures,” Srinivasan added.
According to an I&B Ministry report, around 62 per cent digitisation has taken place in Chennai, however, MSOs and LCOs dispute this figure and claim that the actual number is far less.
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