The Prasar Bharati has phased out all analog terrestrial transmitters except 50 installed at “strategic locations”, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said on Wednesday.
In 2017, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended introduction of digital terrestrial transmission for broadcast services in a phased manner and a complete shutdown of the analog transmission by the end of 2023.
“Prasar Bharati has phased out all of its analog terrestrial transmitters except 50 transmitters at strategic locations,” Thakur said, addressing an event organised to unveil ‘Government of India calendar 2023’.
The broadcast regulator had recommended roll out of digital terrestrial transmission in a phased manner, noting that analog terrestrial TV broadcasting was being phased out world over due to “poor quality of reception, inefficient use of spectrum and obsolescence of analog technologies”.
Television broadcasting in India was started on September 15, 1959, with experimental transmission of terrestrial TV signals.
A regular TV broadcast service was started in Delhi in 1965 under the aegis of the All India Radio (AIR) and extended to other cities in the 70s.
In 1976, TV broadcasting was separated from the AIR with the formation of Doordarshan (DD).
The major expansion of the terrestrial TV services took place before Asian Games in Delhi in 1982 when colour transmission was introduced and a large number of transmitters were set up throughout the country.
According to TRAI, the terrestrial network had 1,412 analog transmitters and 16 digital terrestrial broadcasting transmitters (DTT) in India as on January 31, 2017.
While digitization of terrestrial network in India was under discussion since 2000, the public broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) adopted the prevailing DTT technology and started experimental services, setting up four transmitters from 2002 to 2007 in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Addressing the event, the minister said the DD Free Dish, a direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television service launched in 2004, has reached over 43 million homes by early 2022.
Various channels under the Prasar Bharati have also reached a combined subscriber base of over 2 crore, he said.
“This year, the country has added 75 community radio stations to take the total to 397 in the country,” Thakur said, highlighting the achievements of his ministry and its various organs. PTI