PEMRA-Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has disclosed the complete road map for Digitalization of analog cable TV network across Pakistan.
In first phase of Digitalization the following cites will be considered which includes; Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan & Hassanabdal. And according to PEMRA all cable operator’s should switch to digital network by 30-09-2016. And they should import maximum number of set-top boxes/receivers with in three months.
For Awareness campaign about digitalization, PEMRA will start extensive media campaign highlighting the objectives and benefits of the digitalization by all means of communication (newspapers, radio, TV, cable standees, banners, publication of articles, seminars social media etc) in the next six months.
The formal launching ceremony has held on 12-02-2016. A comprehensive media campaign on inhouse channels would also be launched by Cable operators, simultaneously.
For Declaration of Cable business as industry and tax holiday on import of set top boxes. The matter with relevant ministries for declaring Cable business as industry has been taken up. Moreover, issue pertaining to waiver of import duties on equipment required for digitalization has also be initiated. In this regard CAP may also approach the Federal Government at their level.
In Import of set-top boxes, Cable TV operator will ensure that they will import maximum set top boxes within three (03) months starting from February, 2016
Deadline for Complete Digitalization of Networks including subscribers Management System and Conditional Access System are CAP: 30-05-2016.
Final Deadline for complete switchover from analog to digital. CAP proposed that the cable operators will gradually reduce TV channels from March, 2016 onwards as a strategy to transfer their subscribers from analog to digital service. CAP also requested PEMRA to prepare a list of TV channels to be relayed through analog distribution networks. Chair informed the CAP that all their requests/demands will be addressed as per PEMRA laws.
A help desk initiative has also been taken at all the Regional offices of PEMRA which will process licence applications at the earliest possible time in order to facilitate Cable operators. Besides, it was agreed that in order to give incentive/reward the cable TV operators, who, upgrade their networks to Digital Addressable System(DAS) may be eligible to qualify for the status of Signal Provider Network (SPN) and may also provide their signal to other small Cable TV operators licensed by PEMRA with option of retaining direct subscribers feed, with permission of the Authority. It was unanimously decided that all the Cable Operators, in the areas identified above, shall finally switch over their networks from analog to digital by 30-09-2016.