New Delhi: The deadline for Phase IV of Digital Addressable System (DAS) that mandates the rural areas across the country to migrate to Set-top-box has been put off till 31st March 2017.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has decided in favor of the pushing the DAS IV deadline from 31st December 2016 to 31st March 2017 due to uncertainty in the market resulted by pending court cases and unsatisfactory progress of installation of set-top boxes (STBs) in Phase IV areas.
The ministry 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.
In Phase III areas, digitization in remaining urban areas in the country was to be completed by 31st December 2015. However, many MSOs including Tamil Nadu government’s Arasu Cable had moved various High Courts and obtained stay on the implementation of the notifications of DAS in their areas.
Recently, MIB has raised the matter before the Supreme Court, which transferred all the cases to the Delhi High Court for hearing in an order on 1 April 2016. The Delhi High Court disposed of most of the cases, and the ministry said, “It is very likely that the remaining cases would also be finally disposed of in very near future.”
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 analog signals would be transmitted over the cable networks in Phase III areas after 31 January 2017. I&B ministry also made clear that no further extension of time would be allowed.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011, made it mandatory for switch-over of the existing analogue Cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) in four phases. Digital switch-over has already taken place in Phase-I and II areas.