Encouraged by the response it received for the first phase of Digitisation of cable TV homes, the information & broadcasting ministry is now gearing up for the second phase, which would cover 38 cities across 15 states.
With the analogue signals in Delhi and Mumbai being blocked on October 31 and Kolkata agreeing to switch to the digital addressable systems, the ministry has now started reviewing the preparedness for phase-II cities, the deadline for which is March 31.
On Tuesday, at a meeting headed by Uday Kumar Varma, secretary, information and broadcasting ministry, it was said the deadline for the second phase of digitisation would remain unchanged and to meet the deadline, preparation should be carried out in earnest.
On November 11 2011, the ministry had notified the phase-wise digitisation of analogue cable television networks in India.
According to data provided by the ministry, as on November 5, 2.24 million set top boxes had been installed in Mumbai, 2.51 million in Delhi and 1.77 million in Kolkata.
Various teams from the ministry have made extensive field visits to Mumbai and Delhi to check for violations. The teams have also visited several homes in these cities to interact with the people and get feedback.
The ministry said it had asked multi-system operators (MSOs) to make a thorough assessment of the number of set top boxes, taking into account credible data from the ground level.
"MSOs have also been asked to provide information on the estimated number of set top boxes, as well as their plans for procuring set top boxes, to ensure the deadline of March 31 2013 is met in phase-II cities," it said.
The ministry has also started working on a communication campaign to target the specific needs of the 38 cities to be covered in the second phase.
It was emphasised meticulous planning was necessary for these cities, and the lessons learnt from the first phase had to be incorporated in the second.
This month, the ministry would hold a day-long workshop to prepare an integrated plan for smooth and flawless transition in phase-II cities.