The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) revealed that 90.44% of the digital addressable system (DAS) Phase III has been achieved as at 15 February 2016 compared to 76.45% in December 2016. MIB Joint Secretary R Jaya said that set-top box (STB) seeding by multi-system operators (MSOs) has increased to 12.43 million for the period ended 15 February, from 6.91 million for the period ended 30 December 2015.
In the previous Task Force meeting, held on 30 December, the ministry had stated that 685 areas have reported zero seeding of which 280 areas were in West Bengal. However, those areas were deleted from Phase III list as per the comments of the state government. Out of 685 areas, 450 areas had fewer than 1,000 TV households and 226 from 1,000 to 5,000 TV households.
It also emerged during the discussions that some MSOs who have not even applied for DAS registration had filed cases for extension in the courts. Cases have also been filed by some MSOs who are not technically ready. Giving an update on the legal matter, Jaya said that 19 cases have been filed in various courts in the country for extension of the cut-off date for Phase III.
On the other hand, MIB special secretary and chairperson of the Task Force JS Mathur said that the ministry has filed a petition in the Supreme Court for transfer of these cases for immediate hearing and for immediate vacation of stay granted in these cases. Mathur advised the stakeholders that the stay granted in some court cases should not be construed that digitisation is put on hold. He emphasised that digitisation is a reality now and cannot be stopped, and advised that broadcasters and MSOs should spread this message. He further mentioned that as per MIS report the number of MSO-dark areas have also decreased considerably. Mathur stressed the issue of MSOs continuing with their seeding activity as the ministry has already moved the courts for transfer of all petitions in state High Courts, for vacating the stays.
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