The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) today rolled back its earlier decision to prohibit analog cable television broadcasting, reports The Himalayan Times. MoIC has given all cable operators till mid-December to switch to digital TV.
MoIC stated this change in a press statement. It said that disabling analog TV just ahead of the parliamentary and provincial elections will result in millions of people to being uninformed regarding the political changes taking place in the country.
The government had been working on implementing digital television broadcasting system. It had started monitoring analog TV service providers from Wednesday and had banned cable operators from providing analog TV channels.
As a result, thousands of homes were without TV on Wednesday, Thursday and until late Friday.
But with the new decision from MoIC, people can have access to analog TV channels till mid-December. However, they only have about a month to switch to digital TV. Until then, the people can watch limited 35 channels as MoIC has given the cable operators the permission to broadcast only up to 35 analog channels until mid-December.
Prem Kumar Shrestha, spokesperson for MoIC said, “We have extended the deadline for cable operators to switch to the digital broadcasting format as stopping analog television broadcasting at present will prohibit Nepali people to get voter education and other essential election information.”
Further, MoIC has asked the Nepal Cable Television Association to provide a roadmap to switch the entire analog broadcasting system into digital. According to the MoIC’s digital TV plan, connecting set-top boxes to their television sets falls under the responsibility of the customers. Many cable operators say that the process should be gradual.
Sudhir Parajuli, president of NCTA said, “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 percent of cable subscribers in the country are yet to switch to the digital system.”