The broadcast regulator Trai today recommended introduction of digital terrestrial transmission for broadcast services in a phased manner and complete shut down of analog transmission by end of 2023. “Digital terrestrial transmission may be implemented in the country in three phases with complete migration and analog switch off by December 2023,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in its recommendations on the “Issues related to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting in India”.
At present, terrestrial TV broadcasting in India is under the exclusive domain of Doordarshan (Prasar Bharati), the Public Service Broadcaster and it is predominantly analog. While a large number of TV channels are available to the consumers through various delivery platforms such as DTH, Cable TV, IPTV, HITS etc, Trai said, the existing terrestrial TV platform provides only a few channels which do not offer a value proposition to the viewers.
“This is a move that may lead a combination of multiple DTT transmitters at a location, which can provide a rich bouquet of SDTV, HDTV, UHTV, mobile TV channels, radio service and other value added services,” Trai Chairman RS Sharma said.
Trai has said that private players should be permitted to provide DTT services along with the public service broadcaster.
Public broadcaster may be permitted to operate maximum three transmitters at a given location out of which one may be exclusively used for provision of mobile TV services, the regulator said.
“Private broadcasters may be permitted to operate maximum four transmitters ( with spectrum capacity of 8 MHz each) at a given location subject to availability of spectrum,” Trai said.
The regulator has also suggested that maximum number of DTT providers may be capped at five (one public broadcaster and four private broadcasters) as per availability of spectrum.
Sharma said that in the digital era, consumers prefer to have access to number of TV channels on various devices such as mobile phones and other handheld devices.
“…terrestrial viewers are deprived of such benefits due to non-availability of digital terrestrial broadcasting services. Terrestrial television broadcasting is the preferred method for providing free-to-air TV services to the people in most of the countries,” he added.
Trai has recommended that DTT should be deployed in metros by December 2019 in phase 1, cities having more than 10 lakh population as per Census 2011 should be covered by December 2021 and rest of India by December 2023.
“In order to create a supportive eco-system, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology may devise policy framework to make available DTT compliant devices,” Trai said.