India signs Digitisation Bill

India’s parliament has approved the country’s TV digitisation plan. The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2011 was entered onto the statute books, and will force cable operators to digitise their networks in a staged manner but to have the complete country digitised by December 31st 2014.

The new bill also gives India’s government the right to cancel licences of cable operators who flout rules, officials said. One question covered  MPs’ concerns regarding the cost of set-top boxes and whether they would be indigenously manufactured or imported from China and South Korea.

Ambika Soni, minister at the Information & Broadcasting Ministry said efforts were ongoing to ensure that the cost of the set-top boxes were available at affordable prices. “The prices of set-top boxes will fall. These will be available on instalments and rent. Also, viewers do not have to take a whole bouquet of channels. [regulator] TRAI will impose tariff capping for subscribing to channels,” she said.

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