Drive to install set top boxes to pick up pace

Kolhapur: The process of switching to digital mode of transmission through new set top boxes is set to pick up pace on the city over the next few days. Customers will have to shift to digital mode instead of the current analog mode of transmission by the end of this month.

Sources told TOI that the primary reports stated that some 55,000 cable users in the district have shifted from analog cable to set top box. This is the third phase of digitization where, 23 towns including Kolhapur city are part of the drive.

All the cable customers have to shift to set top box by March end. Earlier, the deadline set by the union and state government was December 31.

The Bombay high court had given time of two months for cable operators to deploy set top box in the selected cities in December last year. With the period is getting over, the Kolhapur city is also gearing up for the digitization drive, where the primary reports have stated that some 55,520 customers have joined to digitization drive.

There are some 65,996 customers in these 23 target areas. The cable operators were also convinced at various levels by the state government as well as authorities to undertake the analogue to digital route. “We have started sensitizing people about mandatory shifting to digital network because of which better quality is assured. We have already informed some 1,406 cable operators in Kolhapur to alert their consumers about it,” sources said.

Yashoraj Patil, general manager, Bhima Riddhi Infotainment Pvt Ltd, the major cable operator in the district said some 30,000 customers have shifted to set top box deployment. And daily average of customers opting for set top box is 2,000. The figure is low but we still have time to convince and pursue people about it.

“There are some 80 paid channels that we are showing to our customers apart from the free channels. The supply of set top box was also a problem during the period. The court sanctioned two more months, when we could increase the supply and provide the customers enough number of boxes,” Patil said.

There are some 23 locations that are cities, towns and major villages which are selected by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India under the drive of digitization. It includes Kolhapur municipal corporation, Ichalkarnji and all other municipal councils and some major villages such as Ajara, Kabnoor, Panchgaon, Morewadi, Gandhinagar and Unchgaon among others.

The population of these areas is 12.30 lakh, who have some 65,000 cable connections already. All these connections are now being shifted to set top box as a part of digitization drive. There are 1,75,475 cable connections in the entire district of which these 65,000 are selected in the first phase.

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