Kolkata government to send report on Cas extension next week

NEW DELHI: The report from the state government of West Bengal on the extension of Cas to the remaining parts of Kolkata will be sent to the ministry of Information & Broadcasting early next week, recommending to first extend it to Zone 2 and Zone 4, sources tell

"We are going to send the report very soon now, may be latest within a week," a senior government official says.


This would remove one of the more serious worries of the ministry, which is holding back on the announcement of the next phase of extension of mandatory Cas in the three metros, as Kolkata had been the weakest in implementing the Cas regime.

Reportedly, the ministry had been awaiting the Kolkata report to see how much the eastern metropolis would be able to cope with and how fast, and now the decision for the overall announcement would become easier with Kolkata sending the report, sources felt

Kolkata has had a 20 per cent penetration of set-top boxes (STBs) in the Cas market. This is due to several factors, including the fact that the area chosen (Behala and adjoining areas) are where the people in any case watch the FTA Bengali channels.

The extension in Kolkata would be in Zone 2 and Zone 4, which includes the entire North and South Kolkata neighbourhoods, a vast stretch with roughly eight lakh additional cable TV homes, as per the household data from the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation database, which is the closest one can estimate more or less scientifically, a source says.

The Kolkata-based Indian Cable Net, which was acquired by the Zee Group, is more comfortable with the Phase 2 and 4 going first. The multi-system operator feels that would be too much on the plate, and could mess up thing. Thus, while Zone 1 (Behala and surroundings) has happened, Zone 2 and 4 would set the pace for Zone 3 (parts of the KMDA across the river Hooghly, which is in Howrah district).


For the implementation of Cas in the other pockets of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, the government is expected to give a six-month gap after announcement so that all cable operators are given an opportunity to build in the Cas solutions.

The LCO-based Sristi Cable TV Network Ltd seems buoyant about the future of Cas.

"We expect to seed a huge number of boxes in our areas and would order more from the day Cas extension is announced," says Sristi director Raj Kumar Mitra.

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