Come April 1 and your TV set will have no signal if you haven’t installed a set-top box. The district administration has convened a meeting of cable operators on Thursday to remove the fear from their minds that they will have no role after digitised signals rule the air.
Additional collector Ganesh Patil said all the nine towns in the state having a population of more than a million will have to go for digitisation, which will give an individual identity to every connection. Patil returned from Delhi after attending a meeting organised by Telecom Regulator Authority of India (TRAI), which has set the deadline of March 31, 2013, for installing set-top boxes in 38 cities in the country. Maharashtra has nine cities with more than a million population.
The officer said TRAI has set a deadline of September 2014 for installing set-top boxes for all municipal councils and by the end of December 2014, the entire country will have all the connections with set-top boxes. This will reduce multiple connections from one cable connection, improve picture quality and result in win-win situation for cable operators, multiple-system operators, broadcasters, consumers and the government.
Patil informed that he already had a meeting with 45 multiple- service operators in the city and will have a meeting with 1,100-odd cable operators in the district on Thursday.
He said it is necessary to convince the cable operators that they will not be at loss as they will receive 55% commission for free-to-air channels and 35% for pay channels for every connection.
Patil said Pune district, which has a population of around 5.5 million, has 1.1 million TV sets. The district has more than seven lakh set- top boxes installed, which include five lakh DTH and Tata Sky connections and 2.5 lakh set-top boxes. There are 1,105 cable operators and 45 multiple-system operators. He said it will give a choice to the user to select channels he wants and pay accordingly. There will be a minimum of Rs145 per connection with extra charges for pay channels.