Do not wonder if your TV goes blank by the end of day today (Tuesday, June 25, 2013).
If you have not submitted the Consumer Application Form (CAF), or if your cable operator has not forwarded it up to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) your TV may go blank. Anticipate a Television blackout if you live in one of the two big metros Delhi and Mumbai.
TRAI, the regulatory body for telecom and broadcast services had mandated the large cable network operators (Multi-system Operators, the MSOs) to file the details of customers and their choice of TV channels. The deadline fixed for this was November 1, 2012 and was extended up to June 25, 2013.
After the eight month extension, TRAI seems to be on the tough stand: those whose details are not available shall not receive signals. According to the 'Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems Regulations 2012' MSOs who deliver signals to customers who have not given complete data can be prosecuted.
MSOs have moved for negotiations with TRAI for further extension of the deadline. They say that a minimum of seven to ten days is needed to furnish complete data. Estimates say that 20 to 40 per cent of customers are yet to submit data.
TRAI is but insisting on a stern compliance saying that if they cannot implement this in just two metros, how could they go ahead with the scheduled digitisation drive for the whole country.
TRAI's current mandate is for Delhi and Mumbai only--two of four metros that completed digitisation in the first phase.
The plan is to completely digitise the broadcast across India by the end of year 2014. The digitisation schedule is as follows:
Phase I: Deadline October 31, 2012
Regions: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkota, Chennai
Phase 2: Deadline March 31, 2013
Regions: 38 big cities (Name of cities are given below)
Status: Has progressed well; but not completed due to deficiency of Set Top Boxes
Phase 3: Deadline September 30, 2014
Regions: All urban areas of India
Phase 4: Deadline December 31, 2014
Regions: Whole of India
Beyond these deadlines, homes that fail to install Digital Set Top Boxes will miss watching television, is the industry warning. However, availability of Set Top Boxes, managing the finances, reaching out to the vast expanses of India and many other obstacles stand in the way of meeting these deadlines.
38 cities scheduled for Phase 2 digitization