Only about 55% digitisation target has been achieved in 38 cities set for digitisation in Phase II by March 31st 2013, the the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has announced. The data, as of February 22, 2013:
- 8.77 million Set Top Boxes(STBs) against the target of 16 million have been installed in Phase-II cities accounting for 55% digitisation.
- DTH connections account for 4.07 million
- Cable STBs accounted for 4.7 million
The original deadline set for the end of Phase I was June 30, 2012, which was later extended to October 31, 2012. In October 2012, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced 85% digitisation in the four metros during phase I of the digitisation process. However, an independent study conducted by TV guide company, What’s-On-India‘s TV Street Maps(TSM), and MxM India on the state of TV digitisation in the four metros showed only 59% digitisation against government’s claim of 85% digitisation. In response, the government had defended its methodology.
It would interesting to see if the government sticks to the deadline of March 31, 2013 for the end of Phase II. It is also interesting to note that Finance Minister, Mr.P.Chidambaram had announced an increase in import duty of set top boxes from 5% to 10% to promote domestic production of STBs. It seems that this proposal has been made to reduce the cost of production and thereby the cost of digitisation for both the government and consumers alike.
With the deadline fast approaching for the end of the Phase II, and it’s highly improbable that the government is going to meet its targets, it has set up a task Force to oversee the digitisation process, which will push public awareness campaigns about the digitisation. All television channels and All India Radio have been informing consumers about the deadline for cable TV digitization.