Prasar Bharati plans to increase channels on Doordarshan Free Dish

Gaurav Dwivedi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Prasar Bharati on Friday said that the objective is to provide a rich and diverse bouquet of services free of cost.

Published: 07th January 2023 10:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2023 10:45 AM   |  A+A-

Prasar Bharati

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As part of major upgradation and expansion scheme of the public broadcasting service, Prasar Bharati has planned to augment capacity of its Doordarshan (DD) Free Dish from existing 166 to about 250 channels.

Gaurav Dwivedi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Prasar Bharati on Friday said that the objective is to provide a rich and diverse bouquet of services free of cost.

Briefing about the approval accorded to the ‘Broadcast Infrastructure Network Development (BIND), scheme with an outlay of Rs 2,539.61 crore for modernization and growth of Air India Radio (AIR) and DD, Dwivedi added that the plan is to create better infrastructure and widen the public broadcaster’s reach in far-flung and bordering including Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas and at strategic locations.

DD will get 60 percent of the outlay and remaining share is for AIR’s upgradation and moderisation.

“Funds will be used to produce better; rich content including regional languages programmes with focus on entertainment, health, education, youth, and sports. Development of high-quality content for both domestic and international audience, availability of diverse content by upgrading of direct-to-home (DTH) platform to accommodate more channels will expand the choice for the subscribers,” said Dwivedi.

Besides facelift of DD and AIR under the scheme, the public broadcaster has also proposed free distribution of over eight lakh DD Free Dish set top boxes (STBs) in remote, tribal, LWE and border areas. It has also set a target to expand FM radio coverage; geographically from existing 58.83 percent to 66 percent.

“Prasar Bharati will soon start working on a plan to decide and select the audience who will be given free Dish,” said the CEO.       

In tem of population, the plan is to increase coverage to 80 percent, which is 68 percent at present.

Augmentation of AIR FM coverage at the Indo-Nepal and Jammu and Kashmir borders is also part of the spreading out plan. With 4.3 crore connections, DD Free Dish is the largest DTH platform in India.

Dwivedi said that the scheme would also generate indirect employment.

“Apart from manufacturing and services related to supply and installation of broadcast equipment, content generation will also provide direct and indirect employment in different media fields in the content production sector,” he said.  

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