New Delhi: With the June 30 deadline for digitisation of cable sector in the four metros approaching fast, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Friday met stakeholders to review the preparations but did not give any hint of a possible decision to extend the target date.

In a meeting held at Vigyan Bhawan here, Soni met and heard the views of broadcasters, multi-system operators (MSOs), local cable operators (LCOs), representatives of consumers and others related to digitisation.

The government has declared that analogue cable service would be phased out and complete digitisation will usher in the cable sector in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata by July 1.

But to implement this decision, Set Top Boxes (STBs) have to be installed in households subscribing to cable service. There are at least 103,16,500 subscribers in the four metros alone.

Official sources said that some stakeholders expressed certain difficulties they faced in meeting the digitization requirements and were heard by Soni.

"The minister heard all the stakeholders and has also sought their comments and suggestions about digitisation," a senior official said on Friday.

Sources said that all broadcasters, MSOs, LCOs and others had been given a proforma in which they could give their responses, suggestions, practical difficulties and also details of the progress they have achieved.

The stakeholders have been asked to give a detailed feedback of the situation by June 11 and this feedback would be then discussed in the Task force on digitisation meeting on June 15, officials said.

"While planting of STBs is a challenging task, the Ministry has been monitoring it continuously and there has been a sudden spurt in the numbers (of STBs planted) in the last week. The government is serious about the set deadline and attempts are being made to expedite the process," the senior officials said.

(Agencies)

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