Less than one week left for digital switch on November 1

Almost 10 lakh cable television subscribers in four metro cities could face a small-screen blackout next week unless they immediately install set top boxes (STB) in their homes.

According to the government’s weekly progress report on the digitisation drive, the pace of STB installation has picked up — with an average of 50,000 per day over the last few days — as the November 1 deadline to switch from analogue to digital mode draws closer.

Overall, 85 per cent of the 67 lakh cable subscribers in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are ready for the shift, according to government data. While Mumbai has seen almost 100 per cent coverage, other metros still have ground to cover over the next week.

Apart from the increase in STB installations, many customers are choosing to move out of cable television entirely, with direct-to-home (DTH) sector becoming one of the biggest benefactors of the switchover policy.

Almost one lakh new DTH connections have been installed in the last two weeks alone in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. On October 10, there were 26.69 lakh DTH subscribers in the four metros. According to Friday’s report, that figure has risen to 27.52 lakh. “Daily installation of DTH connections in the above mentioned 4 metro cities has gone up to 8,000 boxes per day from an average of about 2,000 boxes a few weeks back,” said the statement from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

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