Hyderabad: In a major relief to tens of thousands of cable TV viewers, the Hyderabad High Court has extended deadline for installing set top boxes.
The HC passed an interim order, directing the Central government to continue with the present cable TV transmission system for another two months. Justice Vilas V Afzalpurkar issued notice to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the petition filed by the Federation of Telangana MSOs, which had alleged shortage of set top boxes (STBs) and sought more time to seed these.
The Court heard the arguments of counsel C Ramachandra Raju for the petitioner and assistant solicitor general B Narayana Reddy before directing the Central Government to file a counter affidavit before the next date. The single judge referred to an order given by a Division Bench of the Court on 20 August, 2013 and the Central Government’s directive about Phase III of 11 September, 2014.
According to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s own updated list, there are 8,60,618 TV households to be covered in Telangana in DAS Phase III across nine districts by this evening. But the petitioner Federation alleged that it was being forced to implement Phase III despite the shortage of STBs.
Similarly, the Andhra Pradesh MSO Association has filed a petition in the same court seeking a stay. It may be recalled that Broadcasting sector regulator TRAI had asked all cable TV subscribers under phase III of digitisation drive to get Set Top Boxes (STBs) to avail uninterrupted TV services before the deadline of 31st December 2015.
The regulator in a statement had said that after metros in Phase I and 38 cities in Phase II, other urban areas, including municipal corporations and municipalities, fall under phase III of the digitisation drive.
TRAI also said that in a meeting on 1st December, it had found that that the progress of seeding has been good and a large number of customers are availing the benefits of digitisation.