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Lok Sabha passes amended Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act

India's lower house of parliament, Lok Sabha, has passed the second Bill to amend the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act 1995, replacing the ordinance promulgated in October 2011 which seeks to digitise the country's cable TV network by the end of 2014.

Systematic registration for cable operators, inspection of cable networks, use of standardised equipment, mandatory transmission of the state Doordarshan channels, and the empowerment of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to specify the basic service tier and its tariff, are all covered in the Bill – which has been welcomed by all sectors of India's TV industry.

Following the passing of the Bill on 13 December, Devendra Parulekar, partner and segment champion, TV distribution, Ernst & Young, told Exchange 4 Media: "The development seems positive as this will lead to transparency in the entire system while creating a win-win situation for every stakeholder. Fundamentally, this will provide customers with wider choices, better signal quality, HD content and niche content tailored to suit niche audiences."

The cable TV digitisation process will begin next year with the metros. Then, cities with a population of one million are to be digitised by 31 March 2013. Remaining urban areas are set to follow by 30 September 2014, while the entire country's cable network is due to be digitised by 31 December 2014.

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