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Lack of transparency mars CAS: Report

05-January-2004
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Lack of transparency mars CAS: Report

A field report submitted by the Delhi Government on the implementation of conditional access system (CAS) has said that lack of transparency and information had led to confusion and anxiety among consumers living in South Delhi.

The Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, has demanded the appointment of a regulator to ensure that consumers are not forced to pay more for seeing less number of channels.

In the report submitted to the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, it was mentioned that the residents did not know the actual prices fixed by the multi-system operators (MSOs) for the set-top boxes (STBs) and there was confusion about the schemes being offered.

It said that the cable bill in many areas would also go up from the present Rs 150 per month to over Rs 300. The position of individual channels vis-a-vis bouquets was not clear and in one case, the total price of the FTA (Rs 100), pay channels (Rs 199), and rent of STB (Rs 40) worked out to an exorbitant Rs 339, which was apart from the down payment of Rs 3,917 in the case of outright purchase or Rs 3,250 to Rs 1,649 in various rental schemes.

According to the report, there was also a perception that apart from the three compulsory Doordarshan channels, the other free-to-air channels could be changed without notice. While channels such as Fashion TV is available in the basic tier, other infotainment and educational channels were listed as pay channels. The report also said that an advertisement policy for pay channels should be formulated.

On the cable industry, the report said that several cable operators registered with the Delhi Entertainment and Betting Tax Act 1996 were either not existing or had merged with other operators.

The Centre had, on December 31, 2003 asked the Delhi Government to prepare field reports based on inputs from Resident Welfare Associations and other local authorities. The Minister had said that a decision would taken after the reports.

The Government has to prepare a strong case if it has to defer CAS, since a High Court order had said that CAS would be experimented for the next three months.

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