Mangaluru: Assistant Deputy Commissioner Kumar held a meeting with Local Cable Operators (LCO) and Multi-System Operators (MSO) regarding digitalization of cable TV signals at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office near State Bank here, on December 26.
Speaking to the representatives present, Kumar said that the Digital Addressable cable System (DAS) is compulsory and it has to be implemented. 31 December 2015 is last date to air analog signals.
Kumar further said that the Cable Television Regulation Act 1995 was amended in 2011, following which digitalization of cable TV was made compulsory. In October 2012, signals in Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai were digitalized. In the second phase, signals of cities with population of more than a million were digitalized. In the third phase, signals of urban cities like Mangaluru are to be digitalized. The city administration had received a report from the state capitol Bengaluru, stating that the process of digitalization of cable signals in Mangaluru was low compared to other districts. “The city of intellectuals is lagging behind other cities. There has to be a reason for this lethargic behaviour,” he said.
The operators cited many factors like lack of awareness among the citizens, difficulty in convincing the elderly to use a set-top box when they are accustomed to the analog system, shortage of set-top boxes, unwillingness of the consumer to shell out money for a set-top box which costs up to Rs 1500. The ADC rubbished the claims and said that it was the duty of the operators to spread awareness to the consumer.
Owing to factors like shortage in supply of set-top boxes and unwillingness of the customer to switch over to a digital connection, the operators had previously requested the administration to extend the deadline of 31st December. Kumar said, “I had personally asked the concerned authorities in Delhi and Karnataka seeking extension of the deadline. But since digitalization of TV signals is applicable to the whole country and is not limited only to Mangaluru, my request was turned down.” Regarding the shortage in supply of set-top boxes, he said, “You were aware of compulsory digitalization of TV signals from 2011. The planning should have been done earlier to procure enough number of set-top boxes.”
One operator pointed out that analog signals were allowed till 31 December 2016 in rural areas. But since rural areas like Belthangady and Uppinangady get their analog feed from Mangaluru, discontinuation of analog signals in Mangaluru would cause disruption in cable service to the rural areas. The ADC promised to consult the associated authority in this regard.
District Information Officer, Khader Shah was also present.