After digitisation was implemented in three of the four metros (Chennai is yet to take the plunge) – albeit the delay, blame-game and chaos – the government has now turned its attention to the phase II of DAS.
The government has set March 31, 2013 as the deadline for the second phase that will affect 38 cities in 15 states. To ensure that the phase II transition is done smoothly with none of the mistakes from phase I, the government has undertaken a systematic approach. Starting January 2013, it plans to switch off channels genre-wise in all cities to drive home the importance of going digital, share industry sources.
According to sources, religious channels will be cut off first, followed by English channels, sports and so on and so forth.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has asked MSOs to make a thorough assessment of the number of STBs required for phase II and share their plans of procuring the same to ensure the deadline is met.
The Ministry has also started working on a communication campaign to target the specific needs of the 38 cities. A day-long workshop has been planned by MIB to prepare an integrated plan of action for a smooth and flawless transition in phase II cities. The Ministry had earlier written to the Chief Secretaries of the phase II states to nominate a nodal officer from each state as well as from each targeted city so that a close liaison and coordination could be made to sort out local issues.
A quick recap
With the first phase taking off on October 31, DAS was implemented in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Chennai continues to be a challenge with the issue being sub-judice in Madras High Court.
According to figures available as on November 5, about 22.4 lakh STBs have been installed in Mumbai, 25.15 lakh STBs in Delhi, and 17.74 lakh STBs have been installed in Kolkata. There are 29 lakh DTH subscribers in the four metros.
Meanwhile, teams from MIB have been making extensive field visit in Mumbai and Delhi to check for violations. Teams have also visited several homes to interact with people and get a direct feedback on the running of analogue signals.