Elaborating on the initiatives, Secretary, I&B mentioned, promoting digitalization was one of the main thrust areas of the Ministry. Digitalization with addressability was the answer as it would enable delivery of a number of channels as well as facilitate triple play i.e. provisioning of TV, Telephony and Internet services through cable. While discussions had been held with TRAI on related issues, regarding the finalization of the sunset date, a final decision had not yet been firmed up. The endeavor of the ministry was to outline a roadmap which took into account the enormity of the task keeping in mind the concern of key stakeholders. The finalization of a sunset date for digitalization would also evince interest for better participation in the Headend- in-the Sky Policy.
Regarding the issue of Mobile TV, Shri Menon said the ministry was presently engaged in laying down a suitable regulatory framework enabling private players to provide Mobile TV services. In this context, the recommendations of TRAI had been examined and certain issues related to spectrum identification within the recommended band, the determination of service area licenses and the number of providers is under discussion.
Regarding the initiatives taken by Doordarshan to provide a low cost alternative for the poor, Shri Menon said, the Ministry had approved a plan scheme for upgrading the free-to-air DTH platform of Doordarshan to be able to carry 97 channels instead of 57 channels as of now. This capacity increase is likely by December 2011. It is planned to further increase the carrying capacity to 200 channels in the 12th Plan period. This would enable those persons who could not afford to incur recurring expenses on a monthly basis to be able to watch TV channels at a onetime cost for purchase of STB without any further expenses.
Regarding the FM Radio initiatives, Secretary stated that opening up of the FM Radio Sector for private participation had resulted in huge growth in FM Radio Industry. It offered new areas for creating employment and had the potential to generate revenue for the Government by efficiently utilizing the frequency radio spectrum earmarked for FM Radio services. In the FM Phase- III, 806 new FM Channels in 283 cities would be positioned. Shri Menon added that the Ministry would seek the approval of the Cabinet shortly.
On the issue of content Secretary mentioned that the ministry supported the mechanism of self regulation. Organisations such as NBA and ASCI had put systems in place, which were working effectively. A process of self regulation with the IBF was being worked out through mutual discussions.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairperson, Prasar Bharti, Smt. Mrinal Pande said a balance had to be maintained between programming and technology. Content had to be carefully designed in such a way that it did not create a disconnect within society. It was the responsibility of Prasar Bharti to rise up to the challenges of disseminating quality information as a public broadcaster.
The three day expo is expected to discuss a range of issues, which include Digital Broadcasting- Growth and Implementation in India, Technology for HD, VFX & 3D Stereoscopic Content Production, Content Creation- Trends and Challenges, Tapeless Content Workflow- XDCAM HD
422, DVB Second Generation- Success Story, 3G and Beyond, IP Enabled Solutions and Broadcast Regulation.
(Press Information Bureau, Govt of India)