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Amended cable TV bill put before Indian Parliament

The Indian Government has tabled the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2011 in Lok Sabha, signalling the start of a nationwide cable TV digitisation programme.

The bill, put forward by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on 28 November, aims to digitise India's vast cable TV network by the end of 2014. It replaces an ordinance promulgated in October to amend the Act while Parliament was not sitting.

A clause had been inserted via the ordinance in the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act to make a digital addressable system mandatory in the cable broadcasting sector because immediate steps were required to notify the "sunset" dates for analogue cable TV services, according to the government.

The cable networks in the four metros of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are set to be digitised by the end of June 2012, with the rest of the country gradually following suit.

The move has been welcomed across the broadcast spectrum, and is expected to provide more choice and improved quality of television services for the public.

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