Buoyed by a four-month extension, digitalisation of the cable TV network in the four metros is well underway with the information and broadcasting ministry keeping a hawk eye on the progress and will clamp down on those who do not comply with the digitalisation norms.
Sending clear signals that there would be no further extension of the deadline - it was extended from June 30 to October 31-- a government official told HT: "We are rigorously monitoring the progress of the digitalisation process on a weekly basis. Every week, MSOs provide us with the progress data as well as feedback on the progress by Local Cable Operators (LCOs). This is to ensure that the deadline is complied with within four months."
At last count, the I&B ministry had received 30 applications from MSOs for the four metros. Terming the status as satisfactory till date, the official said more applications are expected.
MSOs are cable TV distribution firms who set up the downlinking infrastructure and distribute channels through a headend. The MSO provides its services to consumers either directly or through a LCO.
The government will also come down heavily on any violations or those going slow.
The measures include warning letters, penal fines and punishment including imprisonment. The Cable Act already has provisions with violations attracting imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to Rs. 1,000, or both, for the first offence by the defaulting service providers. Every subsequent offence would attract imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of up to Rs.5,000, or both.