The district entertainment duty (ED) department is puzzled with the fact that despite the deadline to transmit analogue signals lapsing on April 15, some households in the city are still enjoying cable TV transmission through analogue signals. The department has been constantly receiving complaints from local cable operators since April 15, that some of the cable operators operating in the city haven’t yet provided set-top boxes to their customers, and continue to broadcast channels via analogue transmission.
After receiving grievances, the district administration decided to take action by conducting a drive in Yerawada, Sangvi and Pimpri-Chinchwad areas to ascertain if the cable control rooms were transmitting via the digital signals. But, even after discovering that the cable operators were broadcasting through the analogue signals, the department has expressed inability to act against them, as most of these cable control rooms are located outside the state. The ED department has clarified that they cannot do much, as they do not have jurisdiction in states other than Maharashtra.
“We are not only facing the problems with the control rooms that are located outside the state, but in the district itself 26 cable control rooms in the rural areas provide cable connections. But, since the rule of digitalisation has not yet come into effect for the rural part of the district, the cable control rooms located over there continue to transmit analogue signals through which many households in the city are enjoying cable network without set-top box,” said Geetanjali Shirke, ED chief.
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), digitalisation in the rural part would come into effect in October, next year. ED officials have also identified a Gujarat-based multi-system operator that provides cable services to residents of the city and Pimpri-Chinchwad region through local cable control rooms. “Around 70 per cent of the customers receive cable network through this Gujarat-based MSO, and all of its customers are enjoying cable TV without installing set-top boxes. Similarly, a Lower Parel, Mumbai-based MSO also provides analogue cable connection to some residents in the city,” said Gopi Rawat, owner of DEN Network.
He further said that such lack of uniformity in the rules is not acceptable. When contacted Additional Collector Ganesh Patil said that the team of engineers of All India Radio, which was appointed by the Union government to oversee the progress of the entire digitalisation scheme, would now be dispatched to inspect such cable providers who were still sending analogue transmission, and suitable action would be taken against them.