The Central Government is all set to initiate action against defaulting MSOs/cable operators who are continuing with transmission of analog signals. An advisory issued yesterday by the Union I&B Ministry’s Joint Secretary K Sanjay Murthy said, “The deadline to switch over from analog to digital signals in Phase lll urban areas by MSOs/cable operators has already expired on 31.1.2017. The reports from many major MSOs, having switched to digital signals, has been very encouraging, however, information from many MSOs are yet to be received.”
Taking note of the same, the I&B Ministry advised authorised officers in the various states and union territories to penalise the defaulters. “In the eventuality of any MSOs/cable operators having not complied with these directions/orders, you may kindly initiate action under Sec. 11 of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act,” the advisory said.
Under Section 11 of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, authorised officers are empowered to seize equipment of the defaulting cable operators. On January 25, the centre had strongly stated that the deadline for switching off analog signals was not going to be extended beyond January 31, 2017.
“Cable subscribers in Phase lll urban areas, who have not yet taken set-top boxes, are advised to obtain the same from the MSO/cable operators in their areas immediately, failing which they would not be able to watch TV services through Cable TV Networks after 31st January, 2017,” it added.
An earlier communication sent out by the I&B Ministry on January 17 had requested chief secretaries of states and union territories to apprise authorised officers of their powers in relation to errant cable operators. It is noteworthy to mention that following the passage of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act in 2011, switching over from analog signals to digital signals had been made mandatory.