MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) is extending the cut-off date for Phase IV of digital addressable system (DAS) to 31 March 2017 due to pending court cases and unsatisfactory progress of installation of set-top boxes (STBs).
The ministry is also providing additional time for the remaining subscribers in Phase III areas to switch over to digital mode of transmission by 31 January 2017 on account of ongoing court proceedings.
The ministry will be issuing instructions to all the broadcasters, multi-system operators (MSOs), local cable operators (LCOs) and the authorised officers to ensure that no analogue signals should be transmitted over the cable networks in Phase III areas after 31 January 2017. It is also made clear that no further extension of time would be allowed.
A notification in this regard will be issued shortly.
Digitisation in Phases III and IV was targeted to be achieved by 31 December 2015 and 2016 respectively. In 2014, the ministry had extended the deadline for Phases III and IV to 31 December 2015 and 2016.
In Phase III, some MSO associations/individuals had moved various High Courts and obtained either extension of cut-off date or stay on the operationalisation of the notifications of the ministry dated 11 November 2011 and 11 September 2014.
The Supreme Court transferred all the cases to the Delhi High Court for hearing and disposal vide its order dated 1 April 2016. Subsequently, the Delhi High Court disposed off most of the cases and it is very likely that the remaining cases would also be finally disposed-off in very near future, the ministry said.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011 has made it mandatory for switch-over of the existing analogue cable TV networks to DAS in four phases. Digital switch-over has already taken place in Phase I and II areas except Tamil Nadu.