Deadline extended for analogue TV broadcasting

Kathmandu, November 17

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) today rolled back its earlier decision to prohibit analogue cable television broadcasting, giving cable operators until mid-December to switch to the digital broadcasting system.

Issuing a press statement today, MoIC set the new deadline for cable TV service providers to digitise television broadcasting citing that implementation of this system just ahead of the parliamentary and provincial elections will prevent millions of people from watching television to keep themselves updated on the political changes taking place in the country.

As a part of implementing the digital television broadcasting system, the government had started monitoring analogue cable television service providers from Wednesday and barred cable operators from broadcasting analogue cable television channels. As a result, millions of cable television subscribers were barred from watching cable television on Wednesday, Thursday and till late evening today.

This decision of the government means that cable television subscribers will not be deprived of television channels even if they have not switched to the digital system until mid-December.

“We have extended the deadline for cable operators to switch to the digital broadcasting format as stopping analogue television broadcasting at present will prohibit Nepali people to get voter education and other essential election information,” explained Prem Kumar Shrestha, spokesperson for MoIC.

However, MoIC said that cable operators can broadcast only up to 35 analogue channels until mid-December.

MoIC has also sought a clear roadmap from Nepal Cable Television Association (NCTA) within a week to switch the entire analogue television broadcasting system into digital broadcasting system.

Under the digital system of cable TV broadcasting, customers are required to connect set-top boxes to their television sets, which will enable them to view clear and high-definition television channels.

However, cable operators have been saying that migrating to the digital television broadcasting format should be a gradual process.

“As it is the responsibility of the cable subscriber to switch to the digital television broadcasting system by connecting set-top boxes to their television sets, we should first seek ways to encourage cable subscribers to do so. Almost 80 per cent of cable subscribers in the country are yet to switch to the digital system,” said Sudhir Parajuli, president of NCTA.

It is estimated that there are over 3.2 million cable subscribers in the country.