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India working to speed up digitalisation

Monday 26 Sep 2011
The Indian government is working on an ordinance to speed up digitalisation of the cable and satellite television industry worth 200 billion rupees (US$4.09 billion), Indian Television reports.

This is set to upset several cable TV operators in the short run while accelerating pay-TV revenues for broadcasters and curtailing their carriage costs.

Multi-system operators feel that an ordinance to pass such a complex issue is not a step in the right direction.

With the next session of Parliament still about two months away and the deadline for digitalisation in the four metropolitan areas (31 March 2012) fast approaching, the Indian government is expected to issue an ordinance to amend the rules and ensure complete digitalisation by December 2014.

Ministry sources said a draft of the ordinance is being prepared by the Ministry, which would be placed before the Cabinet shortly.

The ordinance will particularly amend the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 which currently does not have any provision for beaming free-to-air channels through the set-top box.

Cable Operators Federation of India President Roop Sharma said three groups have been formed, which is impeding the digitalisation process.

The 18-member Task Force had been constituted to oversee and facilitate the implementation of digital addressable cable TV systems in the country.

Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (Becil) has entered into an agreement with Society for Broadband Professionals of London to receive training in digitalisation. Becil will then impart the training to Indian personnel involved.