I&B ministry asks cable operators for position on Cas extension

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting met with representatives of the cable TV industry today and asked for their recommendations and level of preparedness for extension of Cas to the whole of the three metros and implementing it on a voluntary basis in the other 55 cities.

The ministry has asked the cable operators for their comments within the next week. It is learnt that the ministry met the representatives of MSO Alliance and Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI). I&B secretary Asha Swarup chaired the meeting.

"The ministry has asked for our comments," said MSO Alliance president Ashok Mansukhani while rebutting allegations of restrictive regulations in a round table on Pay TV industry organised by Casbaa, saying that there is need to interface with the government before making sweeping statements.

Talking to on the sidelines of the event, Mansukhani said the ministry has asked for the observations of Cofi and MSO Alliance within the next seven days.

"The secretary was very positive and wants us to state our position on the issues," Mansukhani said.

Present at the meeting from the government side, apart from Swarup, were all top officials as well as Trai advisor (Cable and Satellite) R N Choubey, it is learnt.

The ministry also has asked the two bodies to place their observations on raising the FDI cap for the cable television industry.

Sources said that the ministry is asking for things like whether the MSOs and cable operators are in a position to go for the extension and what is their take on the time frame they would need to implement the programme.

Informing the two bodies of some of the objections raised by both consumers and broadcasters, the ministry has asked for the response on how these issues would be dealt with by the carriers of content, it is learnt.

Trai has already said that not only should Cas be extended to the rest of the metros, but also should roll out voluntarily in the 55 other cities.

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