Phase III of cable TV digitisation by end of 2015: All urban areas of Manipur to be covered

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NEW DELHI, February 26 (MIC): In the Phase III of Cable Television digitization in India initiated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to be completed by the end of this calendar year, all the urban areas of Municipal Corporations and Municipalities of Manipur are to be covered. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday conducted a meeting of the Representative of the state governments at Shastri Bhavan here to implement the cable TV digitization in the country.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has embarked on an ambitious programme for complete switch over of Cable television Network to a Digital Addressable System in India. Government of India had issued a Gazette notification on the 11th November 2011 mandating digital switch over all cable TV networks in the country in four phases.

After successfully completed Phase I and II in four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai by the 31th October 2012 and 38 cities with a population more than one million by the 31st March 2013 respectively, efforts are on to implement cable TV digitization in Phase III and IV areas.

In Phase III, all other urban areas under Municipal Corporations and Municipalities in the country will be covered by 31th December 2015 and the rest of India by the 31st December 2016.

In this connection, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had requested to all the State Governments on the 10th October 2014 to instruct the Filed officers to extent the facility of Right of Way to the Cable operators. It may be mentioned that as per 4B of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995, State Governments are required to grant Right of Way (RoW) to the Cable Operators for laying cables or erecting posts.

The digitization of the cable TV network essentially means that the existing cable networks will stop carrying analog signals from the specified date of the analog switch off, after which only digital signals would be carried. In order to receive the digital signals, the consumers will have to install a Set Top Box else they will not be able to receive TV signals after the switch off date.

In analog regime, cable system had a carrying capacity of 75 to 80 channels only. All these channels were of Standard definition (SD) quality but the same cable in digital can not only carry upto 600- 700 channels but even High Definition (HD) channels can be carried. From the data received from the Multi-System Operators (MSOs), it has been observed that in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata on an average, 300 SD and 20 HD channels are being carried by each MSO. Subscribers have choice to choose these large numbers of channels.

Since digital system has capacity to carry hundreds of channels, the Broadcasters are launching new high quality and even ad free channels which cable subscribers have started subscribing on additional payment.

In analog system, picture and quality was not only poor but was also dependent on the band i.e VHF-1, VHF-2 or UHF in which the channel was carried. In digital system, quality is excellent being digital and is independent of the band of frequency on which the channel is carried by the MSO.

In digital domain, cable subscribers are getting the full access to the programme guide and know what programme is currently being played and would be coming up at different times.

As per Regulations by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), it is mandatory for every MSO and his cable operator to have a Grievance Redressal Mechanism wherein a toll free number, web based system for logging and tracking the status of complaints and notification of nodal officers has been mandated. No such system existed in analog regime. Complaints can thus be addressed effectively in the digital system. TRAI has also provided a timeline for redressing the grievances of consumers in a time-bound fashion.

India is the world`™s third largest TV market with 16.1 crores TV households next to China and USA. The operations of cable television networks in the country are regulated through the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

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