The implementation of DAS (Digital Addressable System) is turning out to be a tough nut to crack for cable operators in Kolkata. The Eastern metro missed its date with digitisation for the third time on December 27, 2012.
Scarcity of set top boxes (STBs) was cited as a major glitch in the digitisation process in all the four metros covered under DAS Phase I, but while Delhi and Mumbai were able to overcome this problem with time, Kolkata has been lagging behind. It may be noted here that the DAS issue is still in court in the case of Chennai.
Along with scarcity of STBs, Kolkata is plagued by two more issues – law and order problem and a tussle between the Central and State Governments.
While the Government is claiming that more than 85 per cent seeding of STBs have been done, cable operators refute this figure, insisting that 40 per cent of the boxes are yet to be installed.
A multi system operator (MSO), on condition of anonymity, told exchange4media, “There are still several households that continue receiving analogue signals; we fear that if we cut off these signals then people will come out on the streets and protest, thus leading to a law and order situation. However, overall we are moving towards digitisation smoothly.”
He further said that all major channels such as English and Hindi movies as well as general entertainment channels have migrated to digital signals and only a few Bengali channels are available on analogue. “The number of cable channels has come down to 20,” he informed.
There have been talks between the State and Central Governments on conducting a survey to take stock of the digitisation process in Kolkata. Though the talks have been going on since last month, nothing fruitful has emerged yet.
Speaking to exchange4media, Samar Majumder, President, Ideal Cable Operators Association of Kolkata (ICOA) commented, “We were expecting the Central and State Governments to come together and do something beneficial, but things are not going in the right direction. Almost 40 per cent of the set top boxes are still to be seeded and the pace of installation has been very slow.”