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Cable TV digitization will be beneficial to operators: Ambika Soni

New Delhi, Wed, 18 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Apr 18 (ANI): Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Wednesday assured that the reformed Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, which aims to digitize the cable sector across the country, would be beneficial to the cable operators.

Soni said that all decisions would be taken in consultation with the stakeholders.

"Firstly I think those (critics) who said this are not fully aware of the discussions and arrangements, which have been made by us as a ministry and also the guidelines which were initially announced by TRAI, the regulatory authority. Now you know that in 2002/2003 this was undertaken as CAS, there was resistance because most of the local cable operators thought that they would be out of job and they are estimated to be 40-60,000, it's anybody's guess," said Soni.

"This time around even though TRAI has suggested to have a complete to digitalization by 2013, we the ministry felt we needed at least more time for talking as it is very important we talk to all stakeholders," she added.

Soni further said that the cable operators have been pressing for digitization as they sense stiff competition from direct to home (DTH) network providers.

"The local cable operators, the all India unions, they have all in writing given their commitment to this. It is at their request that the government started moving in this direction. Because the Cable operators today feel threatened by the DTH operators, one million DTH consumers are being created every month," said Soni.

The digitization of TV signals would offer a wider choice of channels to the consumers along with high quality viewing. Also, after digitization, there would be no prime band.

In August 2010, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had asked for the digitization of the cable sector that was acknowledged by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Commenting on the dismal performance of the Congress Party in the Delhi municipal polls, Soni said: "I was not a part of this election process, but normally what happens is that in corporation elections people vote keeping local issue in mind. Anyway, we will look into it."

"I am confident that the state chief of Delhi, Sheila Dixit and state president J P Aggarwal will analyze how much we gained and where all we lost out," she added.

The BJP tasted success in the MCD polls on Tuesday, by winning 138 seats out of the 272 seats in the trifurcated body. Congress has bagged 78 seats, while BSP has got 15 seats and others including independent, have got 41 seats. (ANI)

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