HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Oct 31 is here but 45% houses have no set top boxes

Ritam Halder, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 29, 2012
First Published: 23:40 IST(29/10/2012) | Last Updated: 02:08 IST(30/10/2012)

Even as the October 31 ultimatum for installing a set top box is nearing, millions of homes in Delhi are yet to come to terms with the change and describe the deadline as "unrealistic".


According to cable operators, nearly 40-45% of city homes are yet to install set top boxes.

Gopal Chatterjee, a resident of Dilshad Colony who is clueless regarding the set top box deadline, said doubts regarding the new system and a fast approaching deadline is making matters worse.

"I have told the local cable guy to get me a set top box as soon as possible since that is the only way out," Chatterjee said.

Roop Sharma, president of Cable Operators Federation of India, feels new technology is required but it should not be forced upon the people. "When the US government brought digitisation, it offered subsidies for the consumers. But here they are pressuring the cable operators and the people," Sharma said.

In 2011, the Union government through an amendment to the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act made set top boxes compulsory and the entire country was supposed to be digitised by December 2014. The four metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai - are being covered in the first phase of this Digital Addressable Systems.

Sharma said, "To make such a move work, there is a need to spread awareness rather than threatening advertisement campaigns."

While officials say Delhi has achieved 83% digitisation of cable homes till October 26, cable operators contradict the figure. 

According to a West Delhi cable operator even though 70% of posh and middle-class homes have installed set top boxes, in areas such as Jahangirpuri, Manglapuri and Sultanpuri, the percentage of such houses is around 20%. "The cable operators are also facing a set top box shortage," he said.

A cable operator in Paharganj claimed that only 20% houses have got set top boxes so far.

Noida needs no switchover
noida: Since the October 31 deadline is applicable to only four metros, people in Noida need not buy a set top box and can continue watching TV with their cable connections. RK Singh, assistant commissioner, district entertainment tax department, said: "Noida's mobile network is included under Delhi NCR Zone but cable TV comes under UP."

"Uttar Pradesh has planned to go digital in some cities, including Noida by March 2013," said Singh.

"We were getting complaints that Noida cable operators were forcing the users to buy set up boxes before October 31, claiming that Noida comes under Delhi zone. I have appealed to the cable users to file complaints, if operator discontinues the connection for not going digital," said Singh.

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