CQ: What according to you are the overall achievements of digitization?
P.K.: Currently, there are 500+ cities with active analog signals. Majority of these cities are in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Urban India has attained around 90 per cent digitization, whereas in rural India there is still 22 per cent analog penetration.
CQ: Do you think we have come up to the expectations as far as upgrading of infrastructure is concerned?
P.K.: In all India basis, the Set-Top-Box (STB) seeding has improved. DTH players are focusing on rural India while urban MSOs are penetrating the urban regions with the provision of high broadband services. Local MSOs and LCOs have also collaborated with major MSOs such as DEN, Hathway, GTPL, Siti, etc to achieve the target.
CQ: What are the major issues still pending in the process of digitization and what are the solutions?
P.K.: In states like Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, there seems to be a shortage of Set-Top-Boxes (STB), which is slowing down the process of digitization. In case of Tamil Nadu on the other hand, the market has always been sluggish towards taking up digitization. Besides, some of the interconnect agreements between MSOs and Broadcasters remain pending.
CQ: There are millions of subscribers who do not have access to digital television services because of reasons like no digital MSO operates in the area, DTH operators not having sales support in the area, or subscribers not able to afford digital services which are two to three times costlier than analogue. What can be the solution to provide such consumers with television services? Should analogue continue in such area?
P.K.: As per Chrome DM view, the continuation of analogue signals in such areas would be a regressive approach to the issue. The Subscribers in Non Cable areas should be encouraged to upgrade to DTH with service issues getting resolved and subscription cost offers for a price-sensitive consumer. There is already traction in the market towards that effect.