India’s government says that by the end of this week one of its four giant cities, Kolkata, “could” be fully digitised as far as cable TV is concerned. India’s West Bengal government reported to the country’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) that despite continually missing previous deadlines this time around the February 1st target date will be met as far as analogue TV is concerned. However, the I&B is still refusing to force MSOs to switch off their analogue signals.
The background to this decision – or lack of decision – is that there remain plenty of pockets of analogue viewing and a reported shortage of digital set-top boxes in each of the 4 key ‘metros’. While the local position in Kolkata is much better than that which existed last November 1st, and December 16th, December 28th, and January 1st (the previous missed deadlines) the fact is that local Bengali entertainment and news channels still transmit in analogue and seem to be in no hurry to switch their analogue signals off.
The next few days are critical in determining how successful – or otherwise – the analogue switch-off scheme is, although India’s commitment of achieving national digital TV by March 31st 2015 remains extremely suspect.