I&B Ministry planning to blank out analogue signals

New Delhi: With nearly 25 per cent TV viewing homes not installing set top boxes (STBs) within the April 1 deadline for the second phase of digitisation, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry is planning to blank out analogue signals in a calibrated manner. 
 
Officials said that multi-system operators (MSOs) and broadcasters have been told to switch off the signals in a phased manner and depending on the situation in various cities. 
 
According to ministry data, 1.6 crore cable TV houses had to be digitised by April 1 in 38 cities and by Monday only 75.11 per cent seeding had been achieved. 
 
"In order to not create inconvenience for the people, we are giving a transition time of 10 to 15 days depending on the ground level situation," I&B secretary Uday Kumar Varma said here. 
 
Officials said that there is a huge diversity in the ground level situation in various cities which the ministry would keep in mind while enforcing black outs. 
 
As per the data with the ministry, seven of the 38 cities involved Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Faridabad, Allahabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Jodhpur have reported 100 per cent digitisation while three others Thane, Meerut and Jaipur have reported figures of over 90 per cent. 
 
On the other side, till Monday, Vishakhapatnam which has over 5 lakh TV sets reported minimum figures of 12.18 per cent digital TV sets. Other cities like Srinagar (20 per cent), Coimbatore (28.89 per cent), Jabalpur (34.87 per cent), Kalyan Dombivli (38.59 per cent) were also lagging behind. 
 
I&B officials said they were coordinating with the nodal officers of these states to monitor progress as well as decide on the timing an manner of switching of analogue signals which will result in blank TV screens for those who have not installed STBs.