Mumbai completes 50% digitization target

06 Aug,2012

By A Correspondent


A review by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has revealed that in Mumbai, 50 per cent of cable TV homes have already been installed with STBs. Mumbai has an estimated requirement of 34.85 lakh STBs, and so far 17.07 lakh STBs have been installed. The MSO-wise installation of STBs in Mumbai is:


National level MSOs: Hathway – 6.16 lakh, Den – 1.40 lakh, Digicable – 2.57 lakh, IMCL – 4.77 lakh, WWIL – 50,000 Independent MSOs - 1.69 lakh.


Mr Ashok Mansukhani, President, MSO Alliance and director with Hinduja-owned IndusInd Media & Communications (IMCL) said: “We are committed to complete the installation by the deadline. However, since there is no agreement with the broadcasters, it is acting as a hindrance.”


In the absence of the agreement, the price of channels cannot be decided, and the same cannot be passed on to the local cable operators (LCOs). The LCOs then have a problem giving a clear price list to the customers.


The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011 has made it mandatory for switchover from the existing analogue Cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) by December 2014, in the entire country in four phases. In the first phase, four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are to be covered by October 31.


The Ministry has been coordinating with the stakeholders regarding the preparedness of the industry for digital switch-over. Installation of Set Top Boxes in cable TV homes is the most crucial precondition for digital switch over of cable television.


The Ministry is holding fortnightly Task Force meetings with all the stakeholders to take constant stock of the progress and to chalk out the measures to address emerging concerns. So far 14 meetings have taken place. The meetings are held with National level and independent Multi-Systems Operators every 15 days to assess their preparedness in terms of head-end capacities to carry minimum 500 channels from January 1, 2012 and the progress of installation of Set Top Boxes in cable TV homes. They have also been advised to prepare micro plans for completion of the requisite task within the deadline and complete all the infrastructural preparations within time.


Meanwhile, in order to enable the MSOs to up-load the data on the website of the Ministry, the Ministry has put in place a software and the website has been enabled for the purpose of real-time collection of data. The software will automatically generate analytical information based on the data uploaded, resulting in a clear view of the progress made. This will not only be useful for MSOs and other stakeholders but also for the Ministry, as it will infuse transparency in the system, and enable timely corrective action.


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