India needs another 110m STBs

India is already embracing digital TV as far as its major urban areas are concerned. But the nation’s Phase III and IV scheme calls for digitisation to drill down to much smaller towns and villages. And the bottom line for India’s cable industry is a need for another 110 million set-top boxes or converters.

India’s Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) secretary Bimal Julka said these next two stages will be completed by the end of 2014 (Phase III is targeted to wrap by September 30th 2014).

“The Phase III and IV of digitisation are already underway. The targeted date as given by the cabinet is December 2014 and with the support of the industry and the state governments, we should be able to go ahead in this endeavour,” Julka added.

India is looking to locally manufacture around 40 per cent of the total demand. The government is also stressing that the benefits of switching to digital conditional access are already being appreciated by broadcasters and government. “The biggest gain of digitisation has been transparency, increasing investments. If we see the revenue and balance sheets of some of the MSOs, the carriage fee has gone down while the subscriber base has gone up,” he stated. He also said that Maharashtra government has seen a jump in entertainment tax collection due to transparency in subscriber base.

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