Committee to monitor CAS implementation

NEW DELHI: The Indian government now is setting up a conditional access system (CAS) implementation committee to monitor the preparedness for a phased out rollout of addressability in cable homes in the four metros. 

"The implementation committee would monitor the readiness for CAS rollout in association with all stakeholders of the industry," a senior information and broadcasting ministry official said today.

Pointing out that the mandate for the soon-to-be-notified body would be to access ground realities, including available infrastructure such as subscriber management system and pricing of pay channels, the official said, "The idea is to meet on a weekly basis before 1 September."

The implementation committee will include Zee Telefilms CMD Subhash Chandra, Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, Sony Entertainment TV India CEO Kunal Dasgupta, TV Today Network CEO G Krishnan, Television Eighteen Ltd MD Raghav Bahl, Rajiv Khattar from Siti Cable, Rajeev Vyas of INCablenet, K Jayaraman of Hathway Datacom, cable operators' representatives Roop Sharma and Anil Parab (representing the independent cable operators from Mumbai) and executives from Sumangali and RPG Netcom.

The first meeting of the implementation panel is likely to be held in Mumbai, according to the government official.

However, there is no consumer representation on this panel and the official said consumer bodies and/or consumer representatives would only be special invitees from time to time

The new panel is being set up, at the behest of I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, to smoothen out any rough edges to the already controversial CAS.

The opposition and even some allies of the coalition government are going hammer and tongs against implementation of addressability in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament which is why Prasad is having a tough time explaining the upside of CAS in both the Houses of Parliament twice a week when issues related to media are discussed.

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