Racing against time, the MIB is trying to register as many MSOs as possible before the Phase III deadline of 31 December 2015. Out of a total of 550 MSOs registered till date 318 have been registered in the last five months only. At the end of Phase II (31 Mar 2013) there were only 115 registered MSO.
According to the MIB website, there are only 230 permanent registered MSOs. Other 323 are provisional, awaiting their security clearance or some other issue to be resolved. There are 645 districts in Phase III with about 7000 urban areas to be covered.
According to industry sources, not more than 15-20% seeding of STBs has taken place in Phase III. Indigenous manufacturers are already complaining in the Task Force meetings that there are no orders from the large MSOs. International vendors too are unable to ship adequate number of STBs as there is a lead time of two to four months for the chipset makers to supply the chips. Thus none of the MSOs registered in the last five months would be in a position to seed 100% STBs. All those who are provisionally registered are already worried that if their registration gets cancelled, their heavy investment will go waste, the way MSOs lost investments on millions of STBs when Government Deferred CAS implementation in 2004.
There was a talk of getting rid of the security clearance by the MHA but no official communication has come forward in this respect.
There are four MSOs whose registration has been cancelled, Kal Cables of Chennai, Digicable of Mumbai are large MSOs who have not been given security clearance. SCOD18, another local MSO of Mumbai has also been denied security clearance. S R Cable of Bangalore has shut down its services.
Three new MSOs who have received permanent registration now are Waltair Entertainment Pvt. Ltd for Phase II in Vishakapatnam; Den Manoranjan Satellite Pvt. Ltd of Pune for Maharashtra; and Seemanchal Digital Network of Purnea for Bihar.
Minstry is still not in a mood to extend the deadline. We will have to wait and watch what all can be accomplished in this last month and how millions of consumers will face an analogue blackout after 31 December.