The total STB seeding of 35.21 million represents 86.82% of the total TV households in DAS Phase III areas. Out of the 35.21 million STB deployment in DAS Phase III areas, direct-to-home (DTH) platforms have seeded 24.17 million boxes as on 1 February. Multi-system operators (MSOs) are way behind with 10.95 million STBs installed in the TV households. Headend-in-the-sky (HITS) operators have seeded just 88,791 STBs in the Phase III areas, according to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB).
It is pertinent to note that out of 625 MSOs who have registration for operation in Phase III areas, only 290 have uploaded seeding data for STBs in the management information system (MIS). All the six DTH operators have uploaded seeding data. In the case of HITS, only one of the two has filled seeding data. According to the MIB, the actual position would be much better as all the registered MSOs and HITs operators have not provided the seeding data.
Among the major states, Andhra Pradesh has managed to seed STBs in 71.11% of the 24.53 million TV households. In Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Kerala, seeding has been 100%. Some states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Gujarat have seen more than 90% seeding.
Ajay Singh-Head Legal, Company Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer, Hathway Cable & Datacom said during the panel discussion on ‘Digitization’ at the NexTV Series in Mumbai that DAS Phase III should be completed by June despite all the delay. He further added that DAS Phase IV comes with a lot of challenges as it is a different market.
“DAS Phase IV concerned rural areas and is a very scattered market and we’ll have to address a completely different set of challengers. Moreover, the issue of monetization will be more recurrent as the ARPU in DAS Phase IV is much lower than in DAS Phase III,” concluded Singh.