Multi-System Operators are digital-ready; huge surge in demand for set-top boxes as deadline nears
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | November 1, 2012
There was a huge surge in the installation of set-top boxes (STBs) in the four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai on October 30, especially in Delhi. A total of 105,180 STBs were installed, out of which approximately 65,000 boxes were installed in Delhi alone. This huge increase in the number of STBs installed in Delhi has taken the Cable TV digitisation level to 95 per cent in Delhi, and along with DTH the digitisation percentage in Delhi has gone to 97 per cent.
While Mumbai has already achieved 100 per cent digitisation, in Kolkata the percentage of Cable TV digitisation has gone to 83 per cent, and if DTH is also counted, the percentage has touched 85 per cent. In Chennai the pace of seeding has remained somewhat static with Cable TV digitisation in the southern metro standing at 62 per cent and 86 per cent with DTH.
The overall percentage of Cable TV digitisation in the four metros has gone to 91 per cent by October 30, 2012. Including DTH, the national digitisation percentage has touched 94 per cent in thefour metro. According to data provided by DTH operators, the number of DTH subscribers in Mumbai has gone up to 7.53 lakh, whereas in Delhi it is 10.17 lakh, Kolkata has touched 3.20 lakh and Chennai 7.11 lakh subscribes as on October 30, 20212. The number of DTH subscribers in the four metro cities has touched 28.01 lakh. Reports from the field indicate that there is a huge surge in demand for STBs in the metro cities, particularly in Delhi. DEN Networks, a leading MSO in Delhi, has reported installing about 50,000 boxes on October 31, 2012 alone. Meanwhile, I&B Ministry teams have fanned out in the metro cities and have completed their visits to all the digital headends. The teams have found that most MSOs are ready for the digital switchover and have operationalised their digital headends with Conditional Access System (CAS) and Subscriber Management System. The Ministry teams will continue their visits in the coming few days to ensure that the analogue signals are completely switched off.
The I&B Ministry, meanwhile, has continued its awareness campaign and decided to intensify its SMS campaign to reach out to the remaining few people who are yet to install set-top boxes. The Control Room in the Ministry has been flooded with calls from consumers requesting information about the price of STBs and their availability, etc. It has so far received more than 4,000 calls from October 19, 2012 onwards. On October 30, almost 500 calls were received by the Control Room. It is operational on all days from 8 AM to 10 PM, and has representatives of MSOs to reply to the queries.