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Delhi High Court removes digitisation hurdles

The court dismisses stay orders that had stalled the implementation of DAS phase 3 in five states

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | November 8, 2016

tv-channelsThe Delhi High Court on November 3 over-ruled stay orders passed by various high courts in nine cases related to extension of digitisation in DAS (digital addressable system) Phase 3 in five states.

The December 31, 2015 deadline to implement DAS Phase 3 was affected due to stay orders taken by operators from high courts in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

In April 2016, based on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s recommendation, the Supreme Court had transferred all these cases to the Delhi High Court, making it a designated court for all related matters.

In a November 3 order, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court directed all nine petitioners to run a scroll on their networks about digitisation and switch off analogue signals in three weeks. Justice Sachdeva said these cases were infructuous as the time sought for extension had already been given and the deadline had crossed.

The All-India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF), the industry body representing multi system operators (MSO), asked all its members to work with broadcasters to switch off analogue signals and implement digitisation in DAS Phase 3 markets immediately in line with the Delhi High Court order. This will pave the way for digital revenues to flow in from these areas as per the directives of TRAI.

AIDCF has urged all local cable operators, MSOs, broadcasters and Government bodies to help complete digitisation at the earliest. In a separate mail sent to the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the apex body for television broadcasters, AIDCF, asked them to shut down analogue and broadcast digital signals only.

IBF welcomed the move and advised all its member broadcasters to apprise all its affiliated MSOs and local cable operators (LCOs) about the switch over deadline of November 24, 2016 in these Phase 3 areas and make it clear that after the date the channels can be received only through a digital set-top-box (STB). The subscribers in these areas are advised to immediately contact their respective LCOs/MSOs to ensure the installation of STBs before the expiry of the deadline.

The nine cases for which the order was given are from five states, viz. Karnataka (Riddhi Vision, Victory Digital, Sri Chowdeshwary Cable Network, Yogesh Cable Networks, Amma TV), Kerala (Athulay Infomedia), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (Panchajanya Media), and Uttar Pradesh (Sai Cable TV Network, Sunil Kr Singh).

VD Wadhwa VD Wadhwa

Welcoming the judgement, VD Wadhwa, Executive Director and CEO, Siti Networks, said, “This is a very important judgement as the honourable Delhi High Court has dismissed the nine cases, thus paving the path for digitisation. Not just in DAS Phase 3 areas, this order will also clear the passage for timely implementation of DAS Phase 4 of digitisation.”

He added, “Digitisation is very important for not just the consumers, who will get better service and more choice in terms of channel packages, but also for local cable operators, MSOs and broadcasters. It will allow for parity in sharing of revenues as per TRAI guidelines. This will aid in increasing internet penetration and thus realising the digital India dream.”

He added, “I would urge all concerned to immediately comply with the court’s orders to seed digital set top boxes and switch off analogue signals in three weeks.”

Wadhwa is also the President of AIDCF and welcomed the move on behalf of the body.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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