Govt mulls over option to enable TV viewers choose service provider

Govt mulls over option to enable TV viewers choose service provider

A new system to enable television viewers change the service provider by simply putting in a new card into their set top box (STB), instead of buying a new one, is on the anvil. 

A task force set up to suggest measures for Cable TV digitisation discussed the proposal in its first meeting here on Wednesday. 

“Like the portability of the mobile phones, the television viewers should also have similar options with their STBs. They should be able to put in any card of their choice of service provider on the STB,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, who chaired the meeting, said.

The ministry is working on a plan to bring in a system of “interoperability” to the STBs, the minister said. “It’s an issue that could be looked into by the stakeholders concerned.” 

Javadekar also underlined the need to make STBs available in the country at affordable prices. He exhorted domestic manufacturers to start producing STBs at competitive rates, saying the Telecom Ministry had already declared the equipment as “telecom network equipment”.

He also called upon manufacturers to innovate and explore new technologies for addressing the different tastes and needs of the consumer.

The minister said Phase III of digitisation process would be over by the end of 2015 and Phase IV by 2016-end. 

“In the next phase of digitisation, the price mechanism offered to the consumer would be a key determinant of the process. This was due to the digitisation process being extended to rural areas.

As a consequence, it was mandatory for all stakeholders to sensitise the consumers on the benefits of the process in view of the rural outreach of the programme,” he said.

The minister said the digitisation process was an integral component of the “Digital India” initiative.

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