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CAS rollout in 57 cities in 4 years
Ashish Sinha in New Delhi | June 12, 2007 09:22 IST
The roll-out of the conditional access system will become mandatory in 57 cities in the country in a phased manner between January 2008 and March 2011.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India was giving final touches to its draft report on the matter, sources said, adding the report would be submitted to the ministry of information and broadcasting soon.
Under CAS, cable channels are routed through a digital set-top box and consumers have to pay only for the channels they watch. At present, CAS is operational in parts of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
Trai will hold a meeting with stakeholders including cable operators, multi-system operators and broadcasters on Tuesday to discuss the final draft of the proposal.
Some of the cities on the CAS radar include Jaipur, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Nagpur and Chandigarh.
The move will enable digitalisation of cable channels as recommended by a Planning Commission sub-committee report submitted to the government earlier this year. Currently, about 95 per cent of the 72 million houses with cable television receive cable via analogue mode.
"We expect the information and broadcasting ministry to notify CAS roll-out dates in advance so as to give time to cable operators, MSOs and set-top box manufacturers to plan a smooth implementation of CAS," Ashok Mansukhani, president of MSO Alliance, told Business Standard.
But the decision on mandatory roll-out of CAS in the remaining areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata will be taken separately by the information and broadcasting ministry.
"We should be able to notify the expansion of CAS in the rest of the three metro cities very soon. We may meet the stakeholders once more before a notification to this effect is brought out," an official in the I&B ministry said.
According to cable industry sources, Trai proposes to implement CAS in 40 cities initially and expand to other cities later.
"We are very happy with the role of Trai on CAS implementation. Now it is up to the I&B ministry to move forward on CAS and announce dates in advance for a smooth roll-out of CAS," Roop Sharma, president, Cable Operators' Federation of India, said.