The government was examining the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations for a national action plan for digitisation of cable television, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, said on Monday in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
TRAI in its recommendations had suggested that there should be a national plan for digitisation from April 1, 2006 till March 31, 2010.
TRAI has proposed the introduction of digital service in all cities/urban agglomerations with a population of one million plus by 2010. However, the regulatory authority is not in favour of imposing digitisation on the concerned parties.
“Cable operators, MSOs, broadcasters, and above all, consumers should adopt the new technology only when they see the merits of such a shift,” it stressed. In all the cities, the existing analogue service will continue simultaneously.
TRAI has also proposed licensing for new entrants, automatic licensing for existing operators, rationalisation of import and domestic duties by April 1, 2006. It has also recommended imposing an ‘Entertainment tax’ for a consumer education programme during these four years (2006-10).
The major benefits of digitisation are better reception quality, increased channel carrying capacity, new features such as programme guides, multi view and interactive services as well as potential to provide triple play – voice, video and data. The DTH (Direct to Home) service, which is essentially perceived as a competing platform to cable, is in digital format.
Digitisation of cable television is an ongoing course in most developed nations. The US has set the target of 2009 for complete digitisation. The only city in the world, which has switched off analog transmission, is Berlin.