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Karnataka LCOs approach High Court to seek stay of DAS Phase III

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NEW DELHI: Having a ripple effect of sorts after Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Odhisa and Guwahati, now it looks like Karnataka is all set to follow suit to get a court extension on the Digital Addressable System (DAS) Phase III deadline.

On 8 January, the Karnataka High Court is all set to hear a petition filed by the Karnataka Cable TV Operators Association for a stay on implementation of Phase III in view of the low seeding of set top boxes (STBs), problems with interconnect agreements and other issues.

As was reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com, the High Courts have already given extensions for various periods in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, Orissa, Sikkim, and Telangana, apart from Tamil Nadu where prolonged legal cases have been pending since Phase I.

Meanwhile, senior officials in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry today met legal experts to consider options before it to counter these orders even as sources in the Ministry told this website that the orders given so far will be implemented until a counter action is found.

One of the option before the Government is to ask the Supreme Court to bar any challenge to Phase III in various High Courts as this is a policy issue and the apex court had itself ruled earlier that it would not interfere in matters of policy. The second option is to oppose each case in the respective High Court, which is being done.

While insisting that there will be no extension of the switch off of analogue signals beyond 31 December, 2015, the Ministry is also making a more realistic assessment of the seeding of STBs.

Meanwhile, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is awaiting counter suggestions before it comes out with a model interconnect agreement by mid-January.

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