New Delhi: The era of analog transmission in Indian cable television (TV) is on the way out with the government set to make changes in the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act making digitization mandatory.
The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry, which is aiming at complete digitization of cable sector in the four metros by 2012, is planning to amend the Cable Act through an ordinance, officials said. They said the ministry has discussed the proposed amendments with the law ministry and a note has been sent to the Cabinet for approval.
“Through the ordinance the ministry would insert a clause in the Act which would make a digital addressable system mandatory in the cable sector,” said a senior official.
Officials, however, said the ministry had to push for the ordinance as a delay would have ensured that the target dates get missed.
“The target date for completely digitizing the cable sector in the four metros is 31 March 2012. With such a close deadline, the ministry could not have waited for the winter session of Parliament,” said an official. “The ministry also has to give the cable operators a six month time frame to shift from analog mode to the digitized mode,” he said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended digitization of the cable sector in its report and I&B ministry has accepted the recommendation.
“We also want digitization and an ordinance may be soon promulgated but there are issues which TRAI has not answered as yet,” said Roop Sharma, president of the Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI). “There are issues of interconnectivity, issues of tariff between cable operator and multi-service operators and other stakeholders,” Sharma said.