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The CAS Saga: Trai seeks views from broadcasters

11-June-2004
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The CAS Saga: Trai seeks views from broadcasters

Before making its final recommendations on the controversial conditional access system (CAS), the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has set up a meeting with TV broadcasters. When Trai officials, including its chairman Pradip Baijal, meet the channel representatives on June 11, they’re likely to go over the same old issues about desirability of CAS and whether it should be made mandatory, industry sources said.

Trai has also asked research service company IMRB to conduct a study on CAS, to arrive at a pricing benchmark in the new regime, among other things. For the first time, a large-scale quantitative exercise is being undertaken on CAS, it is learnt.

Recently, Hong Kong-based research firm, Media Partners Asia, also conducted a study on CAS on behalf of Trai.

According to Mr Baijal, the Trai recommendations on CAS would be out by end of June or early July. A few days ago, when he was asked as to which way CAS was headed, Mr Baijal had said, “the issues are far too complex”.

CAS is an alternative way of distributing cable TV channels to viewers, through set-top boxes.

Although CAS was scheduled to be introduced in the metros in September 2003, after an initial delay, it has been a failure so far.

But, representatives of the cable TV industry met information and broadcasting minister S Jaipal Reddy recently, in an attempt to revive CAS. Mr Reddy, however, has not given any assurances to the industry on implementing CAS yet, sources said. The matter is with Trai, is all he had said.

So, industry players are now going to try their luck with Trai.

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