With the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India making sure that the Delhi high court's order on conditional access system in cable TV is adhered to, local cable operators and multi system operators in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi are gearing up to meet the deadline of January 1,2006.
As per the ruling, all pay channels will be encrypted from December 31,2006 and viewers in the CAS notified areas will have a choice between digital cable and direct-to-home services like Dish TV and Tata Sky to receive the pay channels.
Accordingly, a trial run by MSOs, with channels being available both in encrypted and uncrypted forms, has begun from December 16, 2006.
Confirming the move, Trai chairman, Nripendra Misra said: "Out of 21 MSOs across the three cities, 10 are running the CAS trial."
"The number of set - top boxes sold in the cities are definitely increasing but no number can be disclosed yet. However, Trai is expecting the demand for the STBs to increase by the last week of December," said Misra.
According to Ganesh Naidu, president, Cable Operators and Distributors Association, MSOs have sufficient stock of STBs. However, the concern is resistance by customers and lack of awareness. People are hesitant and want to wait till the last moment.
"Between the two cities of Mumbai and Delhi, we have already deployed around 20,000 digital STBs under rental or outright schemes. 90 per cent of these are in CAS areas," said Ashok Mansukhani, executive vice president, corporate services, InCable Net.
He further added that InCable Net has stocked STBs in warehouses in Mumbai and Delhi. Also, sufficient number of STBs have been ordered to be delivered by January 2007 end and STBs can be availed from 2-3 vendors at short notice.