I&B minister seeks consumer-friendly CAS regime

MUMBAI: Minister of state for I&B with independent charge Ravi Shankar Prasad has placed consumer interest above all.

Prasad, today, asked broadcasters to find ways and means to usher in a consumer friendly regime under the conditional access system (CAS), which gives cable TV viewers a choice of subscribing only to desired pay channels.

"We have to keep the consumer interest in mind. Ultimately, the recipient of all technology is the consumer....who is also the final arbiter. He is very demanding and discerning and wants everything at competetive costs," Prasad said, while inaugurating an international conference and exhibition on terresterial and satellite broadcasting.

"Digitalisation: roadmap for broadcasting", is the theme

of the three-day conference organised by the Broadcast

Engineering Society (India), BES, the apex body in the field of broadcast engineering in the country.


Prasad, who dwelt on CAS as also bringing in digital broadcasting technology in place of the current analog system, emphasised he wanted to ensure that consumer interest was not compromised while making the changes.

Stating that investment would have to be shared by all

concerned in bringing the changes, Prasad said that analgoue set top boxes would cost Rs 3000 while digital boxes would be costlier.

While inaugurating the conference, BES president JG Gupta said that the three-day conference would feature sessions on cable TV and CAS.

Press Council of India chairman Justice K Jayachandra Reddy, who was made an honorary fellow of the BES, said in his keynote address that a meticulous transition policy was needed to to be drawn up for switching over from terresterial analog broadcasting to digital.

"Doordarshan will have to address all the relevant issues

which are quite complex", he said.

On the DTH (direct to home) front, Justice Reddy said that DTH service providers must seek to attact customers from all segments of the public using increased transmission capacity to offer new value added services.

Additional secretary in I&B ministry Anil Baijal, said that technological upgradation has opened up a flood of opportunities for cable operators to provide value added services.

An exhibition -- BES Expo 2003 -- has also been organised along with the conference in which latest sophisticated broadcasting equipment and innovative gadgets made by Indian and foreign companies are on display.

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