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Delhi awash with set top boxes ahead of analogue switch off

Fears of too few set top boxes to meet demand before the switch off of analogue cable TV signals in one of India's four metros on 30 June were quashed by the government yesterday (27 March).

Speaking in Delhi, Information and Broadcasting Ministry Additional Secretary Rajiv Takru reportedly said the capital required 3.3 million set top boxes to achieve full digitisation of its cable networks, and so far 700,000 have been installed. One million more set top boxes were in stock, he said, and 2.8 million more were on order, to ensure that Delhi would have more than enough to fulfil public demand.

Addressing a stakeholder meeting, Takru also said that requests for tax concessions or incentives to digitise the country's cable TV network have been turned down by the government. He again underlined the government's absolute deadline for the digital switchover in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata on 30 June 2012.

Consumers will realise the benefits of digitisation: namely greater transparency, an end to piracy, and cheaper entertainment, Takru predicted.

Roop Sharma, president of the Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI) complained at the lack of local cable operators present at the meeting, and reportedly alleged that digitisation was aimed at benefiting the direct to home (DTH) operators. Takru strongly denied the claim, according to Indian Television.

Takru also told the audience there was a provision of 45 days for final disposal for licence applications by cable operators.

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