Two High Courts in the country stayed on 28 March 2013 the switching off of the analogue television signals for varying periods after 31 March because of non-availability of digital set top boxes (STBs).
While the Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad stayed the introduction of digital addressable system (DAS) till 8 April in Ahmedabad, the Karnataka High Court issued the stay till 1 April in Bangalore.
In both cases, notices were issued to the Union Government and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
In both case, the petitioners Cable Operators Association of Gujarat through its President Pramod Pandya and Karnataka Cable TV Operators Association President V S Patrick Raju have said there is confusion about availability of STBs and the multi-system operators (MSOs) are also helpless.
Raju has also raised the issue of who owns the STB that is installed at the home of a subscriber – the customer or the LCO.
Raju told Cable Quest that there was no clarity over who owns the box. “We have also not given any commitment to exchange the box if the customer wants. In most cases, we are also unable to give the bill for the box as the multi-system operators, which are distributing them, are not giving us any bill. All that is given is the activation bill.”
However, he said bills are being given to customers who are serviced directly by the MSOs.
Pandya from Ahmedabad said that STBs ordered from China had failed to arrive because of internal problems in that country and, therefore, the LCOs could not be penalised for this.
Cable Quest sources also found out that manufacturers in China have not given any deliveries for second phase till yet. In fact even the Chip makers informed that they could not meet the demands till date and shipments are in the pipeline.
Also many independent MSOs are yet to get their DAS license. However, the ministry is determined to show the second phase seeding of STBs a great success based on assurance from a few bid MSOs and DTH companies who have nothing to do with Cable TV digitisation.