Ending all speculations, at a press conference held at FICCI Federation House in New Delhi, Rajiv Takru, additional secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) reinforced the government's decision to switch over from analog to digital by June 30 in the four metros - Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
Overall, including the four metros, 10 million set-top boxes (STBs) are required, while only 3 million are currently available. For example, in Delhi, 33 lakh STBs are needed, of which 7 lakh are already available in the market. The government claims that it has placed an order for another 28 lakh STBs. Moreover, it claims that another 10 lakh STBs are in stock.
According to Takru, the order for set-top boxes has been placed and the boxes are under different stages of delivery. However, rather than opt to install these boxes at the last moment, viewers should initiate the process now, as at the last moment, local cable operators will find it difficult to get the boxes installed at various houses.
Meanwhile, in order to create awareness about the deadline, the government has launched a campaign on All India Radio (AIR), along with an information ticker on Doordarshan. So far, only one print campaign has been published. A toll-free number (1800 180 4343) has also been introduced to answer consumers' queries.
The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) plans to launch a mass scale campaign, in addition to information tickers on all associated private channels. The campaign is expected to hit television screens and other mass-media by next week.
Interestingly, Takru feels that the consumer, especially the younger generation, is ready for implementation of digitisation and is also willing to pay the extra cost attached to it. He also hopes that the transition from analog to digital will be a smooth one.