Govt in no mood for nation-wide CAS rollout

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Govt in no mood for nation-wide CAS rollout

If you thought conditional access (CAS) was round the corner, you’re sadly mistaken. If TRAI and the I&B ministry officials are to be believed, CAS is a definite impossibility in 2008.

Ministry officials told ET that CAS, if implemented at all, will only happen after the general elections in 2009, with the current government not willing to take on something new. The second phase of CAS was expected to roll out by the end of 2007 or first half of 2008, with the inclusion of cities such as Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Orissa. While TRAI has given its recommendations for CAS to be implemented as soon as possible, the I&B ministry is now faced with a new issue.

Speaking to ET, I&B joint secretary Zohra Chatterjee said, “Considering we are already in June, it is unlikely that CAS will be rolled out within this year. Also, we had asked the respective state governments to conduct a survey and come back to us with their considered view.

We have not got a positive response on the same, except for Kolkata who endorse CAS.” “The process of CAS implementation will only get an impetus if the customer wants it. Currently, we seem to be faced with a mixed response. Several state governments have actually stated that they do not want CAS in their states,” she added.

For instance, Delhi in a survey has said that they are not interested in CAS. The Haryana government has said that it will follow Delhi’s decision. Maharashtra has yet to respond, while Kolkata seems to be the only city that endorses the rollout of CAS. TRAI advisor R N Choubey said, “The decision to extend CAS to the remaining parts of the metros and an additional 55 cities, now lies completely with the ministry. We have made emphatic recommendations for the rollout of CAS.”

“The government is dragging the CAS issue to help new incumbents, such as DTH and IPTV, to take a firmer hold on the addressable environment. This is not a fair level-playing condition. Further, TRAI has already given positive recommendation of extension of CAS for the three cities and an additional 55-city plan. In case the government plans to delay its implementation indefinitely, then the cable industry and TRAI need to be informed of the reason for the same,” said MSO Alliance president Ashok Mansukhani.

He added that at this stage, the MSO alliance is not looking at any legal options, but would be talking to officials of the regulator and the ministry this week.
Govt in no mood for nation-wide CAS rollout- Media-Media / Entertainment -News By Industry-News-The Economic Times