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Government to notify new DAS deadline soon

NEW DELHI: Digital addressable system (DAS) roll-out in the remaining two phases will have a new timeline and the government is committed to it, Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar has said.

“Digitisation is on track and will happen as per new schedule,” Javadekar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter after an informal meeting with broadcasters on the sidelines of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation’s (IBF) 15th Annual General Meeting in New Delhi.

prakash-javdekar-mainEarlier, I&B secretary Bimal Julka had told that the digitisation deadline has been put off by a year to December 2015 as a lot of groundwork needs to be done and various issues need to be resolved. The deadline for Phase IV would be extended to December 2016.

Declining to give details of the meeting with the minister, Star India CEO and newly elected IBF president Uday Shankar said, “We had invited the minister to the IBF AGM which he agreed to attend. It was an informal meeting. I can’t reveal what we discussed in the meeting.”

According to a source who attended the meeting, the minister has assured that the government will notify the new dates within a week. “The minister assured that digitisation is on track and the government will notify the new dates within a week,” the source said.

Javadekar had indicated that the government might extend the deadline to give ample time to domestic set-top box (STB) manufacturers. “Government to lay thrust on indigenous manufacture of set-top boxes. Digitisation deadlines may be relaxed if necessary,” he had tweeted after taking over as I&B minister.

Julka had earlier stated that nearly 11 crore (110 million) STBs are required to be seeded in Phases III and IV of DAS that will cover semi-urban and rural areas.

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Digitisation extended by a year; industry settles to resolve issues