The cable TV industry under the banner of CATV Entrepreneurs Club will soon meet the I&B Minister to demand the implementation of Conditional Access System (CAS) all over the country. This was decided at a two-day national conference of the Indian Broadcasting and Cable TV Industry at the National Capital.
“We will meet the Minister next week to appeal to him to extend CAS to other parts of the country as India does not live only in the four metros,” said Dr A K Rastogi, President of All India Avishkar Dish Antennae Sangh.
“Even if the government does not implement CAS in other parts of the country, we will make the system addressable and implement it ourselves through digitisation of our networks,” Rastogi added.
Faced with the challenge from direct-to-home, multi-system cable operations have realised that it is only through technological upgradation that they can face the difficult times ahead. In fact, an MSO from Jamshedpur has already filed a PIL for CAS implementation in Tatanagar area pre-empting the threat from Tata Sky DTH in the area.
“We know that we have difficult times ahead and we have to improve both our service and public image to face it. We will train our personnel telling them how to behave with the customer and provide them with proper uniform to have a unique identity,” Rastogi said.
The convention also decided to demand a separate Cable TV Regulator Authority, which would function to streamline and monitor this highly disorganised sector.
Rastogi said that cable operators should be immunised from the sealing drive in Delhi. “We should be kept out of the sealing drive as we are a non-polluting industry and we have to be in residential areas to serve local residences,” he maintained.
“We will also demand that the government give us small-scale industry status so that we can seek institutional funding for upgradation of our services and further expansion,” Rastogi further said.
Asked about the key problem of under-declaration in the cable TV industry, he said, “We are ready for 100 per cent declaration and total transparency. But we should be given amnesty till March 31, 2007 for this.”
Referring to the Mumbai incident where MSOs were raided for allegedly carrying obscene content, Rastogi said, “We will also make a presentation before the government asking how we could be held responsible for the content of a television channel and how we could know what a channel would telecast the next moment. Let the government decide whether we should carry a particular channel or not.”