Telecom Lead India: India is set to begin the phase II of cable digitization and is targeting 38 cities in 15 States on 31 March 2013.
Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, Uday Kumar Varma has reviewed the preparedness for phase II cities.
On October 31, India switched off analogue cable television networks in India’s three metros — Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Chennai, India’s fourth metro, got five-day extension to achieve 100 percent digitization.
I&B ministry said it had issued a notification dated 11th November 2011 notifying Phase-wise digitization of Analogue Cable Television Networks in India.
As on 5th November 2012, 22.4 lakh Set Top Boxes (STBs) have been installed in Mumbai, 25.15 lakh in Delhi, whereas in Kolkata 17.74 lakh STBs have been installed. 29 lakh subscribers have DTH connections in the four metro cities.
I&B ministry, headed by Manish Tewari, has asked the MSOs to make a thorough assessment of the number of STBs, taking into consideration credible data from the ground level. MSOs have also been asked to provide information about the estimated number of STBs and their plans for procurement of STBs to ensure that the deadline of 31st March 2013 is met in these Phase II cities.
Ministry has also started working on a communication campaign to target the specific needs of 38 cities of Phase II. It was emphasized that a meticulous planning of the Phase II cities is essential incorporating learnings from Phase I cities.
Ministry has planned a one day workshop in the month of November to prepare an integrated plan of action for a smooth and flawless transition in Phase II cities. Ministry had earlier written to the Chief Secretaries of the Phase II States to nominate a Nodal Officer from each State as well as from each targeted city so that a close liaison and coordination could be made with the Nodal Officers to sort out local issues.
It has also been planned to put in place additional man power through BECIL to make extensive field visits in the targeted cities of Phase II. It was reiterated in the High Level meeting that the digitization deadline of 31st March 2013 would remain intact and that the preparation of Phase II should be done in right earnest to meet the notified deadline.