India claims 55% digitisation achieved

Just hours after local operators complained bitterly about extra taxes being levied on imported set-top boxes, India’s government says that its March 31st target date for digitising the nation’s 38 largest cities is well on track. India’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry says that more than 55 per cent of homes in those cities have now switched from analogue to digital TV.

This process (the Phase II digitisation plan) has seen 8.7 million set-top boxes installed out of a target 16 million (as at February 22nd). Of the 8.7 million, some 4.07 million are viewing through satellite DTH, and 4.7 million viewing on cable systems.

While welcoming the data, MSO’s have made no secret that the shortage of set-top boxes (very few are manufactured locally) and the now increased cost of imported boxes, will delay overall success. Some MSO’s are suggesting the end result might mean a delay of 3 to 6 months for the Phase II exercise.

The 38 specific cities and areas which have been listed in the Phase II scheme are: Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Jaipur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Patna, Indore, Bhopal, Thane, Ludhiana, Agra, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Vadodara, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Rajkot, Meerut, Kalyan-Dombivali, Varanasi, Amritsar, Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Solapur, Allahabad, Jabalpur, Srinagar, Visakhapatnam, Ranchi, Howrah, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Mysore and Jodhpur.

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