Govt. monitoring CAS progress: Prasad

NEW DELHI: In a written reply in the country’s Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha) today Prasad said that officers of the I&B ministry had visited the metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai to assess the preparedness for conditional access system (CAS) and have, inter-alia, observed that the demand of set-top box (STB) at first stage would be met by imports.

Procurement of STBs is in progress, while training is being imparted to local cable operators for a post-CAS regime. The minister said that the domestic industry has not yet geared itself to meet the demand.

Some multi-system operators (MSOs) have already offered attractive introductory schemes of making available of STBs on Installments/hire-purchase/rental basis and have declared that they would be able to show approximately 60 free-to-air channels within the maximum price of Rs. 72 (plus taxes), Prasad added basing his observations on the feedback from his officials.

Replying to a question by Prakash V. Patil on CAS, the minister said that it has been decided to implement addressability in a phased zone-wise manner in the three metros of Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai and at one go in Chennai from 1 September.

The intervening period is being used to step up the preparedness, educate the consumers and closely monitor the procurement and availability of the STBs. An Implementation Committee under the chairmanship of additional secretary in the I&B ministry has also been constituted with representations from broadcasters, MSOs, cable operators amongst others.

This panel will closely monitor all things related to CAS, the minister said, adding the ministry has also launched a multi-media publicity campaign through advertisements in all the leading dailies of the country and TV channels.

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