I&B meet on March 27 to sort out CAS

I&B meet on March 27 to sort out CAS

Author | Source: Business Standard | Thursday, Mar 23,2006 7:45 AM

I&B meet on March 27 to sort out CAS

The information and broadcast (I&B) ministry has convened a meeting of all stakeholders, including broadcasters, multi-system operators, cable operators and consumers, on March 27 to discuss the implementation of the conditional access system (CAS).

S K Arora, secretary of the I&B ministry, said, "The meeting will look at resolving various issues with all the stakeholders, which will be followed by I&B decision on whether we will move the Supreme Court or not."

He added that the scheme, which was in structure in 2003, ran into rough weather with all the stakeholders opposing it, which is why the government decided to withdraw it. The original scheme did not work and, hence, the government needed time to resolve the impending issues.

On whether one month is too short a time to implement the CAS, Arora said the government's argument in the Delhi High Court was that three months would be needed.

Last time, consumers opposed the CAS, as they believed that it would mean incurring capital expenditure with the purchase of set-top boxes as well as a rise in operational expenditure increasing the size of monthly bills.

In fact, a writ petition was filed in Chennai two months ago stating that after the CAS had come into play, the cost for the consumer went up.

"The meeting is to ensure that all stakeholders are appeased, and to allow smooth implementation. In fact, this will define the fate of the CAS."

Arora also pointed out that the government was yet to receive the court judgement, and the implementation of the CAS within one month would come into effect only after the judgement is received.

If all the stakeholders prima facie agree to the CAS implementation, going ahead, the solution would be to extend the timeframe and modify what has now been proposed by the court to make things more consumer-friendly, he said.

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