Apparently unfazed by deferred deadlines on digitisation of cable television networks in metro cities, regional unit of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has got its act together to ensure phasing out of analogue system of broadcast in Patna and Ranchi by March 31, next year.
This means, each cable viewer is required to get the set top box ready before the stipulated deadline to be able to watch satellite channels, be they free to air or charged ones.
To begin with, the Patna region of Trai has written letters to the chief post master generals of Bihar and Jharkhand circles, asking them to furnish the details of cable operators registered with post offices across the two states.
Trai advisor, Bihar licencing area, Arun Kumar, said the process of updating records of cable TV operators functioning in the region had begun in line with the stipulated deadline.
“Cities with more than 10 lakh population like Patna and Ranchi are to be brought under total digital transmission network by the end of this fiscal. For the rest of the areas, the deadline is 2014-end,” he added.
So far, the Trai has the list of only 789 operators, including 273 of Patna and 516 of Ranchi.
However, the actual number of operators working will be known only upon receiving the confirmation from the department of posts, which is the registering body for such groups.
In keeping with Trai’s recommendations and the stiff competition posed by direct-to-home satellite service providers like Tata Sky, Airtel, Reliance, etc, cable operators have already started sensitising the customers about the necessity of purchasing set top boxes from them.
“Some of our subscribers have purchased set top boxes to enjoy optimised quality of service. We are selling specially encrypted boxes to consumers in the range of Rs. 1,000-1,100, depending upon the quality of equipment,” said Rajiv Kumar of Sky Vision, Sheikhpura.
Besides the quality of service, those relying on cable network, however, would have one disadvantage of having the set
top box, as it would not workif installed in different district. DTH services are available all over the country.
Explaining the restriction, staff of City Eye Entertainment Private Limited, Kankerbagh, said the equipment they received from the multi-system provider (MSO) is encrypted to download signals in a particular district only.
“In case of shifting to other district, the subscribers can return the box with R25 deducted as monthly rental to the service provider,” he said.