Despite the deadline looming large for digital switchover in India’s main cities by October 31st, with many operators lagging behind in their progress, the country’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting has declared that no further extension will be given to the nation’s TV providers.
Ambika Soni, head of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is quoted by The Times of India as saying that only 70% of people in Delhi are using digital set-top boxes, compared to 90% of people in Mumbai – but adds that she is confident that full switchover will have been achieved by October 31st
A campaign is soon to be launched to spread consumer awareness of the benefits of digitisation of television services – though this campaign appears to have been left a little late, given how close the deadline is for the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
October’s cutoff point is the third deadline imposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), after three states indicated publicly that they could not meet the previous deadline of June 30th, with the governments of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu governments requesting an extension of the metro deadline to December 31st.
A recent report from IHS Screen Digest estimates that in order to meet the latest deadline, multiple system operators (MSOs) in the four major metro areas must digitise more than 500,000 new households per week before the end of October, but adds that that the TRAI is unlikely to follow through on its threat to enforce a blackout on any laggards.