Government on 30 August made it clear that no further extension will be given to the mandatory cable digitisation in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
According to the law enacted by Parliament, over 12 million homes with television in metros have to move to digital signals by October 31, this year.
"Given the fact that government is mandated by Parliament to ensure digitisation in the time it is notified, there is no possibility of further extension. My appeal and request to all of you is to conclude negotiations quickly, seed the set top boxes and ensure that on 1st November it is fully functional," Information and Broadcasting Ministry Secretary Uday Kumar Varma said.
He was addressing a round table on implementation of cable digitisation which was also attended by TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar and the stakeholders including broadcasters, Multi-system Operators (MSOs) and Local Cable Operators.
Varma rejected the suggestion that digitisation process in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai was very slow.
"You can't say that it is very slow. If you judge from the space of seeding of Set Top Boxes (STBs) (it is about) 35 to 40 per cent. I think most of the MSOs have assured us that they should be able to do the seeding in these metros," he said.
The official said in Chennai there is only one MSO and they are in the process of seeding set top boxes.
"Once they are able to put the process in place, it would not take much time. Because there is much of multiplicity of MSOs in Chennai," he said.
Varma said the problem in Delhi is that there are "too many players". "But they are still doing it and we are hopeful that they will do it (on time)," he said.
The Ministry has launched the ambitious task of completing digital switchover of the existing analogue cable TV in the country in a phased and time-bound manner by December 31, 2014.