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India’s Phase 3 cut-off date for an all-digital cable broadcasting environment was on December 31st. The nation’s Ministry of Information & Broadcasting says that 86.25 per cent of TV homes have been digitised as part of the Digital Addressable System (DAS) Phase 3 stage of the country’s drive to all-digital transmission.
But drill down into the numbers and not all is quite as good as it seems. In fact some 685 areas (smaller towns and their associated regions) have “zero seeding” of digital set-top boxes. The sizes of these towns ranges from 1,000-5,000 homes (226 in number) and 450 small towns with fewer than 1000 TV homes.
India has a Phase 4 plan which ends in twelve months on December 31st 2016, but this was designed to cover just the very smallest of rural villages.
The delays are not wholly unexpected. The cable industry has cited a shortage of components for domestic set-top boxes, and also difficulties in creating and building their own digital head-ends.
Officially, analogue signals can no longer be transmitted after December 31st 2015.