The Anchor: Rohit Bansal on 5 must-dos for the sun to rise on Digitization on Nov 1

22 Jun,2012

By Rohit Bansal


1. Govt and Ambika Soni must stay

To state the obvious, for The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011 to kick in the mandatory switchover of the existing analogue cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, the government must survive.


Even if that’s a given, the minister Mrs Ambika Soni mustn’t be allowed to meander into party work. If she does, a new minister will take his or her own to time settle down, and pernicious lobbies for a status quo will have an upper hand.


2. Ambika Soni and her babus get three states into action

Though Shastri Bhavan bears the mantle of implementing the Act, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has no boots on the ground. So, unless Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu andBengalsee the DAS in their own interest, Mrs Soni, Uday Varma and Rajeev Takru, her two key satraps, won’t make progress beyond impotent bluster.


3. There’s deeper monitoring and a few scalps on the lamp post

Albeit coming late, TRAI regulations on Tariff & Interconnection would have had enough time since April 30 to sink in. The Quality of Service Regulations and the Consumer Complaint Redressal Regulations would have existed since May 14, requiring every Broadcaster and MSO to publish its Reference Interconnect Offer within 30 days of issue of the regulation, and the stipulated 30 days for negotiations between Broadcasters and MSOs, and thereafter, the MSOs and LCOs to arrive at agreements for us ordinary Joes would have been exhausted many times over. No one could then cite lack of time for fuzziness over the terms and conditions for installing Set Top Boxes and the prices of channels on an a-la-carte as well as on a bouquet basis. Also, every MSO or its linked Cable Operator would have no excuse for failing to put a Consumer Complaint Redressal System consisting of a complaint centre with toll free consumer care number, web based complaint monitoring system, as well as appoint or designate one or more nodal officers and publish consumer’s charter for DAS.


Thus Verma and Takru have their tasks cut out. Implementation is their dharma, the concerned states their believers.


4. ISRO delivers the promised launch

For any stick that Takru and Varma may hold, the cable operator is wily enough to dodge them. What she can’t is if Indian Space Research Organisation’s much-delayed GSAT-7 multi-band satellite, carrying payloads in UHF [ultra-high frequency], S-band, C-band and Ku-band, leaves the ground and starts doing some work. It would then be left to Doordarshan’s Tripurari Sharan to show his mettle and put together a free-to-air DTH platform of 200+ channels on GSAT-7. If Sharan can swing that, the cablewalla will embrace DAS with a measure of fear if not conviction.


5. The DTH Gorilla Begins to Maraud

These folks have sat on their backsides sleeping over the opportunity that “DAS Confusion” presents to them. If only they can get cable operators to become LMOs and leverage some Rs6,000crore residing in their war chests, the pure-play cablewalla will see more in digitization than what the long-arm of the regulation can ever achieve by scaring him.


Rohit Bansal is CEO & Co-Founder, Hammurabi & Solomon Consulting



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