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India cable black-out imminent

India government officials say that some 90 per cent of Mumbai’s cable homes have now been digitised. “Not so,” implies the Cable Operators Association (COA), who say the actual figure is “around 90 per cent”. India’s cable operators, who should have completed the switch from analogue signal distribution to digital by June, and were then given until November 1st to complete the task, will now suffer an imminent blackout. The COA is calling for an extension to December 31st in order to complete the work.

Some 3000 cable operators, drawn in particular from Mumbai and the three other giant ‘metros’, met on Sunday in Mumbai just three days before a Government-ordered switch-off of analogue TV, and potentially denying TV signals to millions of homes.

“Who will take the responsibility of attacks on operators? Because of poor awareness about digitalisation among the low-income group ,the confusion over share of operators and consumers in the paid channels , and the shortage of Set-Top boxes (STBs ), the switchover has been delayed,” said Anil Parab, the president of the Association said. He told the meeting there would be no channels to watch, which may lead to widespread anger on the streets , especially against the operators.

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