No extension of deadline in 2nd phase of digitization: Tewari

"In the second phase in the 38 cities....We are not going to relax the deadline but at the same time we are being sensitive. It is not that we are switching off everybody's television set. We've told the Multi System Operators to be sensitive since we are implementing a very large remit," Tewari said here.

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2013, 21:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Ruling out extension of deadline in the second phase of digitisation, Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari on Wednesday said the government planned to implement the transition from analogue to digital cable in a sensitive manner.

"In the second phase in the 38 cities....We are not going to relax the deadline but at the same time we are being sensitive. It is not that we are switching off everybody's television set. We've told the Multi System Operators to be sensitive since we are implementing a very large remit," Tewari said here.

"And to do it in a manner which gives people, who have not had the opportunity may be because of paucity of Set Top Boxes, or because they were recalcitrant or indolent to come up the learning curve," he added.

The deadline for the second phase of digitisation had passed on April 1 but 25 percent of the selected households had not installed Set Top Boxes (STBs) as per the ministry's estimates.

Tewari said that in the first phase of digitisation in the four metros, Kolkata had not achieved 100 percent digitisation but the ministry had carefully pushed the figure towards total digitisation.

"Therefore, we are extremely sensitive, extremely cognisant but we want digitisation to go through for the simple reason that (a) it will help the consumer and (b) more importantly it will build a sustainable model in the broadcasting industry," Tewari said.

He said digitisation was a hugely ambitious project and the government decided to do it as there is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.

Tewari said that in the broadcasting universe there were 833 broadcasters, 60,000 Multi System Operators, 6 lakh local cable operators and 14.5 crore television homes which translated into about 70 crore viewers, of which about 50 percent is the cable industry stake.

PTI