TDSAT stays own voluntary Cas order; Trai hears mandatory Cas demand

NEW DELHI: In two separate but related developments, the issue of voluntary Cas became central today when TDSAT stayed its own previous order on voluntary Cas in Orissa, while members of the consultative committee of Trai on voluntary Cas told the regulator unanimously that Cas must be mandatory.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today heard senior counsel for ETV, Parag Tripahti, on the review petition the broadcaster had filed on the March 1 order of the court, and stayed its own order.

That March 1 order had been issued after hearing a petition by Ortel, an MSO in Orissa which had decided to rollout Cas voluntarily and had wanted ETV digital signals, which they said they would pay ETV for.


Ortel had pleaded that ETV may be ordered to give their digital signal, and Ortel would pay ETV for each subscriber who opted to have the ETV channel.

Ortel is an Orissa MSO that has started voluntary rollout of Cas there, and had said that the ETV signals would be delivered through Cas STBs, and hence, there would be no under-declaration, as the SMS (Subscriber Management System) would be used.

On March 1, TDSAT had issued an order that it would be beneficial if Cas rollout is voluntary and ordered ETV to give digital signals to Ortel within one week.

ETV had filed a review petition on that order, and Tripathi today argued that according to Section 4-A of the Cable Television Network Act (1995), only the Central government could have order Cas rollout, and hence TDSAT had no jurisdiction over that.


The court after hearing the ETV argument stayed their original order on voluntary rollout of Cas, sending legal and MSO circles went into a tizzy as to the possible implications this could have.

Meanwhile, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India‘s (Trai) committee on voluntary Cas met today at the Trai office here and all the members stressed that voluntary Cas would not work and it had to be made mandatory, sources told

The committee includes representatives of Incable, WWIL, Sun TV, Hathway as well as the two DTH players, TataSky and Dish TV. Both the latter too put their strength behind mandatory Cas.

The core of the argument of the committee members lie in the fact that the Central government was pushing for going digital, which is only possible under DTH or Cas. Hence, if that programme has to be ensured success, Cas has to be made mandatory across the metros.

They said that Cas will not pan out unless people are given a deadline to shift over, and even the experience of Cas this time showed that even after the enforcement, people have take a long time to switch over the Cas.

Hence, the have demanded the mandatory rollout of Cas throughout the three metros and not just parts of them.

Trai will send its report to the Centre.

Incidentally, the Delhi High Court is also hearing a case in which an MSO has sought clarification whether Trai could order Cas rollout in select sections of the three metros or does the order cover their entire area.


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