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Last Saturday at midnight (March 30) ought to have seen a large cluster of major Indian cities switch off their analogue TV signals. 36 towns and cities were affected.
Unfortunately, not all went to plan. India’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry admits that the conversion to digital TV is – at best – complete only in 70 percent of homes. One region, Srinagar, has managed to convert only 4,300 homes, while Coimbatore and Vishakapatnam have achieved “near zero” conversions.
Other important cities are facing legal challenges which will impact the deployment, or completion, of digital set-top boxes.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh , in a letter to I&B Minister Manish Tewari over the past weekend, asked for an extension of six months in the seven cities in the state that were to switch over to digital addressable system from March 31st: Agra, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, and Varanasi.
And even earlier ‘cut-off’ dates affecting India’s four largest ‘metros’ have been missed. Chennai, which was expected to have wrapped its analogue switch off earlier this year, still has some 2.4 million set-top boxes needed to complete its analogue switch off.