Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud yesterday said if the country’s television cable network is digitized, all the TV audience, owners and cable operators will be benefited.
“To this end, the TV cable network will be transformed into a digital system in Dhaka and Chattogram cities within November 30 and all districts including Gazipur and Narayanganj within December 31 set by the ministry earlier,” he said.
Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary, said this while exchanging views with reporters at the Secretariat here after a meeting with the representatives of the Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO) and cable distributors and operators.
Information secretary Md Mokbul Hossain, ATCO president Anjan Chowdhury, its senior vice-president Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, vice-president Arif Hossain, members Abdus Samad Babu, Humayun Ahmed Lablu and Ahmed Jobaier, distributors’ representative Abul Khaier Chowdhury, and operators’ representatives SM Anwar Parvez, Syed Ashraf Ali, ABM Saiful Hossain, Fakruddin Miah and Md Enamur Hafiz, among others, present at the meeting.
Thanking the cable operators for implementing clean-feed and cooperating with the government in digitalising the TV cable network, Hasan said the country got benefited as the clean-feed of foreign channels was implemented.
“Due to this, our law is implemented, the government is earning revenue that was lost earlier and the media industry has been protected from its loss too. The cable operators implemented this task absolutely,” he said.
The information minister said the ministry’s first decision was to implement the clean-feed. As part of reviewing the progress of other decisions, the meeting today unanimously decided to make the TV cable network digitalised in Dhaka and Chattogram cities within November 30 and all districts including Gazipur and Narayanganj within December 31, he added.
Hasan said the cable operators have informed that they have already installed “digital-head” from their end and there is no need to extend timeframe to this end.
Now, the subscribers have to set up “set-top”, he said watching TV will be disrupted if the set-tops are set up in the TVs at city and district levels.
He said the operators will supply set-tops to subscribers at fair price and in easy installments.
The ATCO representatives have stated that all TV channels will conduct a massive campaign in this regard, the minister said.
He said: “Bangladesh is a digital one but it is a matter of regret that our cable networking system is yet to be digitalized. It is even digitalized in India and Nepal. If the cable network system is digitalized, all will be benefited.”
As the network system is not digitalized yet, the government is losing Taka 125 to Taka 150 VAT (value added tax) per month, Hasan said.
He said the cable operators are not getting their proper subscription fees from subscribers too.
The information minister said a draft policy has been formulated on over-the-top (OTP) platform and steps are being taken to send it to the High Court according to its directives.