Cable TV System in Pakistan to be Converted to Digital Within a Year

The Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (COAP) will replace analogue cable system to digital cable TV system by September 2016 across the country, starting with 12 major cities, at estimated cost of Rs 90 billion.

Addressing a press conference, the representatives of COAP along with Absar Alam Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) said that the association has requested the government to declare cable operators as an industry and provide it tax holiday for importing the material required for digitization of the cable TV network.

With Digital Cable TV, consumers will be able to enjoy high-definition streams on their TVs. However, an additional Set top box — that will cost Rs. 5,000 or around — will be needed to get digital cable TV. Here are the cities that will get digital cable transmission within a year:

  • Karachi
  • Lahore
  • Islamabad
  • Rawalpindi
  • Peshawar
  • Multan
  • Hyderabad
  • Quetta
  • Sukkur
  • Faislabad
  • Hassan Abdal
  • Gujranwala

Chairman PEMRA said that the Association and authority have reached a consensus over extending the deadline for switch local cable operators from current analogue to digital cable TV in major cities of Pakistan by end May, while entire urban area of the country by the end of September 2016 will be digitalized.

He further added that for the purpose of importing digital boxes, fees for one year have been eliminated. In addition, for cable operators converting to digital, 10 year licenses instead of the standard 5 year ones will be issued.

Alam said that the regulator will take stern action against all those private TV channels found involved in violating set rules and regulations, adding that recently license of two private TV channels on this account have been canceled and some TV channels have been warned for airing controversial material.