The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in Nepal has instructed cable operators to make necessary arrangements to ensure that the analogue is replaced by a digital signal as from May 2017. Initially, the provision will be applied to cable operators in Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur, Pokhara, Biratnagar and Birgunj. The government aims to extend the cable digitization process to 58 other towns by mid-November 2017 and across the country by mid-April 2018.
“In line with the government’s plan, a number of cable service providers have already switched to a digital network,” Ramchandra Dhakal, joint secretary at the MoIC, told the Post. “We do not have any harsh measure to take against those who do not comply with the decision. We aim to make it a gradual process”.
A number of issues like lack of preparation, the 2015 earthquake and subsequent blockade obstructed the government’s plan. The government’s initiative is in line with the 2017 deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union of the United Nations (UN) for countries to go digital.
On the other hand, not all cable operators are capable of switching to a digital network, the digitization drive will encourage small operators to merge with bigger ones which will also help increase the number of big service providers with a large customer base. Likewise, small operators can buy signals from digital cable operators and use their own brand name and import set-top boxes with their brand to stay in business.