Advanced Television

Indian digitisation much delayed

June 15, 2015

It seems the situation as far as India’s ambitious plans for complete digitisation and the mandatory implementation of Conditional Access is massively delayed, and the usual ‘confusion reigns’ at just about every level of the process.

Notwithstanding the many earlier missed deadlines, India’s Broadcasting Minister Prakesh Javedeker had set December 2015 as the Phase III deadline, and December 2016 as the absolute deadline for wrapping up the complete nation’s Phase III and Phase IV. If only!

The facts are that there are hundreds of MSOs and Local System Operators who have yet to receive their formal licences to operate. Worse perhaps, but according to local sources, even major cities and towns covered by the Phase I and Phase II stages have not agreed or signed important ‘interconnect’ agreements with one another and their local distributors.

The complete system is also beset with legal challenges in some Indian states with litigatiin on-going between broadcasters and the cable companies.

One senior industry figure, and quoted by web-site Indian, Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation president Arvind Prabhoo, says that not more than five per cent of the cable TV homes falling in the phase III regions would have been digitised.

A figure of 20 million distributed digital set-top boxes is quoted, and some local observers suggest that the “five per cent digitised” quoted will grow as the year unfolds and more systems are activated.

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