India government criticises MSOs

India’s government has dismissed critics of its TV digitalisation plan, including those who say that a new set-top box tax will damage the process. India’s powerful Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry says that the nation’s MSOs have more than 2.2 million set-top boxes in stock, with a similar amount already procured, mostly from China and South Korea.

India’s Phase II digitisation scheme calls for 38 major cities to be converted to digital TV, reckoned to be about 16 million homes, by the end of this month. One week ago the I&B said the process was more than 55 per cent completed, and that some 8.77 million boxes had already been installed (including DTH which accounts for some 4 million homes).

While progress is being made few believe the March 31st date can be met. The I&B has set up a ‘task force’ to oversee and monitor the process, as well as funding an awareness campaign within local media and in particular on TV. Some TV channels have already started a scrolling/ticker on screen to warn viewers of the impending cut-off.

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