The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has decided to extend the cut-off date for Phase IV of Cable TV Digitization to 31st March, 2017. The decision has been taken due to uncertainty in the market in view of pending court cases and unsatisfactory progress of installation of Set Top Boxes (STBs) in Phase IV areas, according to a ministry statement.
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Digitization in rural areas was targeted to be achieved by 31st December, 2016 under Phase IV. A notification in this regard will be issued shortly, the statement said. The ministry is also providing additional time for the remaining subscribers in Phase III areas to switch over to digital mode of transmission by 31st January, 2017 on account of ongoing court proceedings.
In Phase III areas, digitization in remaining urban areas in the country was to be completed by 31st December, 2015. However, some MSO Associations/individuals had moved various high courts and obtained either extension of cut-off date/stay on the operationalization of the notifications of the Ministry order dated 11.11.2011 and 11.09.2014, the statement said.
The matter, when raised before the Supreme Court by the Ministry, transferred all the cases to the Delhi High Court for hearing and disposal vide its order dated 01.04.2016, it added.
The High Court of Delhi has disposed off most of the cases and it is very likely that the remaining cases would also be finally disposed off in very near future, the statement said. The Ministry will be issuing instructions to all the Broadcasters, Multi System Operators (MSOs), Local Cable Operators (LCOs) and the Authorised Officers to ensure that no analog signals would be transmitted over the cable networks in Phase III areas after 31st January, 2017.
It is also made clear that no further extension of time would be allowed, the statement said. Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011 has made it mandatory for switch-over of the existing analogue Cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) in four phases. Digital switch-over has already taken place in Phase-I and II areas.