New Delhi: Television sets without Set Top Boxes (STBs) would go blank from Monday in 38 cities which are included in the second phase of digitisation, Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) Tuesday said as government claimed 67 percent digitisation had been achieved in these places.
"As mandated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under the Cable Television Network Amendment Ordinance 2011, for the 38 cities notified in the Phase 2 sequence of digitisation roll-out, television broadcasters will comprehensively switch off all analogue signals from midnight Sunday, 31 March 2013," IBF said in a statement here.
IBF, which has the country's top broadcasters as members, said that at its meeting held on 19 March 2013, the IBF board had felt that such a move is necessary to smoothen the transition from analogue to digital cable TV.
The 31 March 2013 Phase II digitisation deadline covers 38 cities across fourteen states in the country.
It covers Agra, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Howrah, Hyderabad, Indore, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kalyan-Dombivli, Kanpur, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Meerut, Mysore, Nagpur, Nasik, Navi Mumbai, Patna, PimpriChinchwad, Pune,Rajkot,Ranchi, Sholapur, Srinagar, Surat, Thane, Vadodara, Varanasi and Visakhapatnam.
In a separate statement, the I&B ministry said Minister Manish Tewari had been reviewing the progress of phase II on a daily basis and as per the latest data 67 percent of the target had been achieved in the 38 cities.
Hyderabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Allahabad have achieved nearly 100 percent digitisation, the ministry added.
The ministry also said 75 percent digitisation had been achieved in Jodhpur, Thane, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Pune, Faridabad, Nashik, and Ghaziabad. 28 cities had achieved 50 percent digitisation, it added.
As per the data received from Direct-to-Home operators and the MSOs on March 23rd, a total of 108 lakhs Set Top Boxes (STBs) have already been installed in Phase-II cities against the target of 1.60 crore, the ministry said.
The I&B ministry also said it had conducted a second round of meeting with nodal officers of 38 cities on March 8 to ascertain preparedness in these cities.
As part of the public awareness campaign to sensitise the consumers on the benefits of digitisation, the ministry has also stepped up the campaign through print and electronic media, the I&B statement said.
All India Radio has been broadcasting radio jingles on its National and regional networks for creating public awareness while FM broadcasters are also airing radio jingles, it added.
The ministry has also brought out a print advertisement in all 38 cities in the respective regional languages and a SMS campaign and spots on TV channels have also been used to spread awareness.
The ministry said its control room, which also has a toll-free number, has been receiving a number of calls from consumers of Phase-II cities.
In order to facilitate a seamless transition on the due date of 31st March 2013, the ministry has asked major MSOs to depute their representatives in the ministry control room to address and clarify various queries relating to acquisition of Set Top Boxes, various schemes of purchase of STBs and package rates offered by MSOs, the ministry said.