Exclusive teams to verify digitisation progress in 4 metros

Exclusive teams to verify digitisation progress in 4 metros New Delhi: With the deadline for switching over to digitisation in four metros ending on Wednesday, Government today said exclusive teams have been set up for physical verification of the progress made, even as it refuted charges about inaccuracies in the transition figures.

It questioned the basis of claims by some groups that only 40 percent of cable TV homes have opted for digitisation.

"Our data is purely based on the Census figures and the Government is transparent on the issue because digitisation process is a win-win situation for everyone," officials in the I&B Ministry underlined.

Multi-system operators (MSOs) too would not provide inaccurate data as they are registered ones and face the possibility of losing their license for doing so, they said, adding only 12 percent of cable TV homes are left for digitisation.

"We are very confident the data provided by them is correct data. This is a digital data. If you have installed a set top box (under the digitisation process), then it will also be reflected in the subscriber management system (SMS)," they said.

It said teams comprising technical professionals from Prasar Bharati and Broadcast Engineering Consultants of India have been constituted to visit the MSOs in the four metros.

"They are exclusive teams comprising technical experts to visit headends of MSOs in the four metros to cross check and see their preparedness for switchover and also to see the data provided by them is accurate and credible," said officials.

Headend is a master facility for receiving television signals for processing and distribution over a cable television system.

Officials said each team of technical professionals comprising two persons have started physical verification of MSOs collecting information about details of headends, details of conditional access system (CAS) and verification of subscriber data and SMS system details.

The team, which would finish its job by tomorrow, is also collecting information about set top boxes.

However, officials said there are some cable TV homes who would wait till the last hour before opting for set box boxes.

"We hope they would eventually switch over given that they have little choice," they said.

As per the data available with the Ministry, the digitisation process had reached 88 percent till yesterday, with Mumbai leading the pack with 113 percent. Delhi followed next with 89 percent and Kolkata came behind at 82 percent. Chennai was still lagging behind at 62 percent.

About 82,000 set top boxes were installed in Delhi last Friday.

To create awareness about digitisation, campaigns have been launched involving TV actors and sensitisation drives.

Broadcasters and MSOs have also started to switch off channels in a phases manner in cable TV homes to put across the message of a quick switchover to digitisation, they said.

Control rooms have also been set up to assist all the stakeholders.

PTI