Ruling out any further extension of the October 31 deadline set for cable digitisation in the four metros, information and broadcasting secretary Uday Kumar Varma has asked broadcasters, multi-system operators and local cable operators to ensure compliance.
"Given the fact that government is mandated by Parliament to ensure digitisation in the time it is notified, there is no possibility of further extension. My appeal and request to all of you is to conclude negotiations quickly, seed the Set Top Boxes (STBs)...and ensure that on 1 November, it is fully functional," said Varma.
The I&B secretary was addressing a round table on implementation of cable digitisation which was also attended by TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar and industry stakeholders.
Varma also rejected the suggestion that digitisation process in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai was very slow.
"You can't say that it is very slow. If you judge from the space of seeding of STBs (it is about) 35-40%. I think most of the MSOs have assured us that they should be able to do the seeding in these metros."
India is targeting complete digitisation by 31 December, 2014. The digitisation plan aiming at a transition from the prevalent analog system to a digital one is being seen as a game-changer.
Digitalisation promises for about 88 million households across the country a changed experience in terms of clear and better picture and sound quality, and the choice of more channels with tiered packages.
Broadcasters will increase their subscription revenues ending a regime of hefty carriage fees they pay to cable TV operators substantially bringing down operational cost of running channels.
Digitisation will bring in clearer subscription figures for broadcasters, a grey area now.