S.Bridget Leena

Chennai: The Madras high court on Monday extended the deadline for cable TV digitization in Chennai till 9 November, giving cable operators a few more days to complete the process after they sought a further extension, citing non-availability of set-top boxes.

The court had earlier granted a five-day extension to operators in the city on 31 October when the deadline set by the Union government for cable TV digitization in the four Metros, including Chennai, ended.

“The information and broadcasting ministry has said that it will give an extension till 31 December if the state government is willing to stick the deadline," J. Srinivasa Mohan, counsel for the cable operators.

“It will be difficult to procure and give the set-top boxes even by 31 December and we are likely to ask for an extension till 31 January 2013," said a senior official from Tamil Nadu.

“The problem is that set-top boxes are unavailable with the MSOs, and to import and give them to the cable operators will require time," said M.R. Srinivasan, general secretary of the Chennai Metro Cable TV Operators Association (CMCOA), which has 1,800 cable operators under its fold.

CMCOA had earlier written to the information and broadcasting ministry that the Union government’s claim of 69% TV households having set-top boxes in Chennai was incorrect and that only 1.1 million out of four million households with televisions in the city were digitized.

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