Parliamentary group seeks delay in Indian digital cable plan

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 24-05-2012

The 30 June deadline for the complete digitisation of cable TV networks in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata should be extended due to concern over availability of set top boxes, according to an Indian Parliamentary Committee.

The Standing Committee for Information and Technology said the initial deadline for the implementation of digital addressable systems should be extended while a government strategy is developed to ensure domestic manufacture of set top boxes (STBs) can both meet demand and be handed a competitive advantage.

While digital STBs are currently being assembled in India, crucially the relevant card technology is only mastered by a handful of companies worldwide, the Committee added. India has reportedly developed similar technology, but it would take six months before a manufacturing prototype became available, according to the country's Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).

In its review of the implementation of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2011, the Committee found the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had not examined how prepared India was in manufacturing STBs prior to setting the nationwide cable TV digitisation deadline at the end of 2104.

The Committee has, according to Indian Television, now recommended the Department of Electronics and Information Technology coordinate with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to extend the fast approaching first phase deadline for analogue switch off in the four major metros.