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Boost for domestic manufacturing as govt classifies STBs as telecom equipment

NEW DELHI: In a decision that will give a big push to domestic set-top box (STB) manufacturers, the government has declared STBs as telecom network equipment.

The decision is expected to help domestic manufacturers produce STBs at competitive rates by availing tax exemptions. Phases III and IV of cable TV digitisation will require 110 million STBs.

prakash javdekar“We have already declared set-top box as a telecom network equipment,” newswire PTI quotes Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar as saying.

Javadekar also said that the government will make efforts to encourage domestic manufacturers to produce for domestic consumption.

The minister said that he has spoken to the telecom minister on the issue of declaring STBs as telecom network equipment.

“Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was kind enough to give immediate sanction and clarification that set-top box is a telecom network equipment. And so it is there, now they will get the benefit of ‘C’ form as other telecom equipment. So it is a big boost,” Javadekar elaborated.

The I&B minister had recently held a meeting with local STB manufacturers to discuss the way forward for giving a fillip to domestic STB manufacturing.

The minister discussed how local production of STBs can be incentivised so that the industry is ready to meet the demand for Phases III and IV of cable TV digitisation.

Ever since he took over the I&B Ministry, Javadekar has laid special emphasis on domestic manufacturing of STBs. The minister believes that domestic STB manufacturing will help to create jobs.

Currently, the majority of STBs are imported from countries like China, Korea and Taiwan. As reported earlier by, Videocon has entered the cable TV STB manufacturing business.

Trend Electronics Ltd (TEL), which manufactures STBs for Videocon’s direct-to-home (DTH) company Bharat Business Channel at its Aurangabad plant, aims to cash in on the huge business opportunity even as Phases III and IV of digitisation are up for implementation.

According to a Frost & Sullivan study, the total market for STB was 23.52 million units in 2013 and is expected to reach volumes of 39.4 million by 2015 representing a CAGR of 29.3 per cent.

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I&B minister Prakash Javadekar’s focus on domestic STB manufacturers