Govts. of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata still mum on Cas extension

NEW DELHI: An announcement about extension of conditional access system (Cas) to other parts of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata will have to wait for some more time, with the governments and administrations of the three metros still not responding to the information and broadcasting ministry?s request for their assessments on the experience of implementation.

A senior I&B ministry official told that though CAS was functioning effectively in the entire Chennai city and in the southern parts of the other three metros, the chief secretaries of the three metros had not sent in their responses despite a reminder just over three weeks earlier. The official said the representatives of the three metros had been asked to indicate the time-frame for extension of Cas, if agreed to.


In fact, the representatives of the three metros had given their assurances to the ministry in a meeting on June five about extending Cas to other areas, but the official said there appeared to be some reluctance. Ministry officials asked the representatives from the metros to express their opinion on whether they wanted extension of Cas in the respective entire city, or would prefer a phase-wise implementation. The state-level officials wanted the issue to be discussed first at the level of the local or state government.

The source said cable operators had been urging the ministry to take steps to extend the roll-out of Cas to other parts of Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi as a first step and later extend to other larger cities. However, the officials from these cities informed the ministry officials today that they had not had occasion to study the issue or interact with cable operators or other stakeholders.

Even if positive reports are sent to the ministry within the next few weeks, the matter will then go to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and discussions will also have to be held with all the stakeholders including organizations of broadcasters, cable operators, consumer bodies, and eminent citizens. A final decision could therefore take several weeks even after the receipt of reactions of officials of the three cities. Trai had in fact held a meeting early this month with stakeholders and representatives of the metros about extension of Cas.

While the entire city of Chennai has been covered under Cas, the system was partially implemented in the other three metros from 31 December last.

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