The second phase of digitisation in 38 cities has touched 87%, as the Karnataka and Gujarat high courts on Tuesday lifted a stay on the process, paving the way for further momentum.
Karnataka has two cities, Bangalore and Mysore, while Gujarat has four cities on the list undergoing digitisation.
Cable TV households in these 38 cities — with a population of 1 million or more — had 15 more days to switch to a digital platform, as required under law, by installing a home-end device called a set-top box, whose deadline had ended on March 31.
Without the breather, three million homes out of 16 million that had not bought a set-top box by the deadline would have faced a blackout. In a country where TV watching is a national pastime, a television outage could spell chaos.
“When you implement such an ambitious project, you have to balance the imperatives of delivering on a statutory requirement as well as people’s sensitivities. We want to want to do it in a seamless manner, while causing the minimum amount of dislocation,” information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari had told HT.
Joint secretary in the information ministry Supriya Sahu said the courts had upheld the digitisation process and the legitimate need for it.