The decision to bring the cable TV network under the digital system will be enforced from April 1 in Dhaka and Chattogram, said Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud on Tuesday.
Customers in the two cities will have to get TV set top boxes from April 1 to watch satellite television channels, he told reporters after a meeting with cable TV operators at the ministry.
“We had a discussion in detail to implement our initiative to bring cable TV network under digital system and you (journalists) know that a case was also filed in this regard,” he said.
He said the government has taken the initiative to provide better service to customers and ensure that the government is not deprived of VAT and tax from this sector.
“Today we’ve set a timeframe and we have fixed April 1 to ensure installation of set top boxes in Dhaka and Chattogram. We will work together to provide set top boxes within the time,” he said.
“Those who will fail to install set top boxes during this period will be deprived from watching some satellite channels,” he added.
The decision will be enforced in all metropolitan cities and divisional cities by May 30, he said adding already several lakh set top boxes have been procured and it will be implemented in phases.
The meeting also decided to formulate a guideline for the cable operating system and it is needed, he said adding, “We have reached a decision to form a guideline through a committee involving stakeholders.”
Mobile courts started operating from October 1 under the direction of the ministry of information and broadcasting to implement ad-free or clean feed broadcasting of foreign channels in accordance with Cable Network Operation Act 2006.
Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) members stopped broadcasting foreign satellite channels without 'clean feeds', i.e. their advertisement slots filled by show sponsors and other commercial entities cater to a foreign market, on October 19 in line with a government directive.
Legally, a 'clean feed' means the broadcast runs without any advertisements from show sponsors or other commercial entities.
The clean feed policy calls for foreign channels to streamline content according to region, i.e. not air commercials meant for one region in another region. For example, if an Indian channel is to be aired in Bangladesh, commercials produced for the Indian market cannot be aired here.
The solution the information ministry would like to force upon these channels is to have a separate broadcast feed for Bangladesh, in which the advertising slots would be filled by commercials aimed at the Bangladeshi market. The channels would have to make this call based on how much revenue they expect to raise from Bangladeshi advertisers.