The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday extended the cut-off date for the third and fourth phase of the Cable TV Digitisation, said an official.
The cut-off date for Phase III digitisation is extended to January 31, 2017, and for the Phase IV to March 31, 2017, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said, “In view of uncertainty in the market due to pending court cases and unsatisfactory progress of installation of Set Top Boxes (STBs) in Phase IV areas”, the deadlines have been extended.
The digitisation of cable networks in rural areas was targeted to be achieved by December, 2016 under Phase IV, and in the urban areas by December 31 last year.
The ministry said it “is also providing additional time for the remaining subscribers in Phase III areas to switch over to digital mode of transmission by 31st January, 2017, on account of ongoing court proceedings”.
The Delhi High Court has disposed of most of the cases pertaining to the extension of cut-off date/stay on the operationalisation of the plan. The Supreme Court transferred all the cases to the Delhi High Court for hearing and disposal in April this year.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011, has made it mandatory to switch over the existing analogue cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) in four phases.
The ministry will be issuing instructions to all the broadcasters, multi-system operators, local cable operators and the authorised officers to ensure that no analog signals would be transmitted over the cable networks in Phase III areas after January 31, 2017. It is also made clear that further extension of the deadline would not be allowed.
A notification in this regard will be issued shortly.