From July 1, cable TV will become history in the National Capital. The Union information and broadcasting ministry has given the Delhi government a deadline of June 30 to shift from the analogue system, on which cable TV runs, to the digital mode.
This means all people will have to shift to set-top boxes by June end.
Sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) have been made the implementing authority and they will ensure sufficient set-top boxes are made available to cable operators.
The use of set-top boxes was earlier made mandatory for only south Delhi residents but now the entire city is being covered. Delhi is one of the four metropolitan cities cable television to being scrapped completely.
The SDMs will assess the requirement of such boxes and ensure the system is implemented on time. Equipment of cable operators will be confiscated if they are found to be using analogue system post June 30.
A coordination meeting was held on Tuesday between officials of the ministry of information and broadcasting and Delhi government to discuss the modalities.
"To ensure that the shift from analogue to digital is smooth, our SDMs will be in touch with the cable operators and multi system operators who will provide these set-to boxes. We will cover the entire system by June 30," said Vijay dev, divisional commissioner, Delhi government.
According to officials, digital television would mean freedom to get any channel, which is not the case right now.
"Currently, consumers have to buy the entire package which includes channels the consumer does not want. With digital television, people can buy individual channels. It will be mandatory for the operator to provide any channel consumers want," said a senior Delhi government official.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will fix the rates by March 31, which will vary for each channel.
According to sources, close to 30 lakh set-top boxes will be required to cover subscribers who still use the analogue system.
Delhi government officials said there are more than 5,000 cable operators in the city but only 2,000 are registered.
"The government has been losing out on entertainment tax as many operators are not registered. After the implementation of digital television, we will have data of all our consumers and cable operators too," added the official.