The Euro Cup soccer finals, Wimbledon, London 2012 Olympics — these are some of the major sporting events TV viewers in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai may miss if the June 30 deadline for digitalisation of cable TV is not extended.
As of now, just 25% of the set top boxes (STB) have been installed out of the required 12.5 million. “Where will the more than 9 million STBs come from? Even if they are available there is no way they will get seeded before the deadline,” said a source familiar with the development.
“We will take stock again and decide on the way forward in a week’s time,” said Uday Varma, information and broadcasting secretary, after a crucial review meeting on Friday.
With just 15 days left, it would take about seven STBs to be installed every second.
“It is an uphill task as in two weeks, it is possible to seed only about 0.3 million STBs,” said a top-level industry source who did not want to be named.
Industry sources blame the delayed tariff order and the interconnect rules and policy by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) which was laid down only on April 30 for the present chaos.
“Because of the delay by TRAI, work on a war-footing for seeding STBs started only in mid-May,” the source said.
Reportedly, the government is already looking at several alternatives including a three-month deadline extension. “During this period, the government will strictly monitor the progress of seeding of the STBs besides embarking on efforts to update the consumer,” the source added.
While the first phase entails the digital switchover in the metros, the aim is to cover the entire country by December 31, 2014.