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I&B jt secretary Rakesh Mohan dissatisfied with CAS preparations in Mumbai

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MUMBAI: He came, he saw, he was not happy with what he saw.



That reportedly sums up what was the feeling that information and broadcasting joint secretary Rakesh Mohan carried back with him to his bosses in Mandi House at the end of a two-day "reconnaisance" trip to Mumbai to ascertain ground realities and check the preparedness of the multi-system operators (MSOs) and cable operators to usher in the post-14 July era of the conditional access system (CAS).

 



Mohan met the representatives of several MSOs and also had discussions with Mumbai based cable operators. Sources indicate that Mohan had expressed disappointment with the current state of affairs wherein certain MSOs didn't have CAS headends in place; others had ground connectivity problems; still others have got into a stalemate situation with distributors as they tried to woo franchisees directly.



Certain MSOs reportedly argued that they had initiated certain measures but the lack of clarity on the pricing issue (broadcasters not declaring individual pay channel prices) and hassles related to imports/manufacture of set top boxes had slowed down the process and made them cautious. They expressed a viewpoint that MSOs were caught in a trap between the broadcasters and the cable operators.

 



Another major issue relates to the fact that the government task force seems to be oblivious of the concerns of the Mumbai based cable operators.



Sonali Cable proprietor and WIN Cable distributor Suvarna G Amonkar, who met Mohan, expressed surprise over the joint secretary's contention that the concerns of Mumbai's cable operators hasn't reached the government. "Mumbai based cable operators didn't have any representation on the CAS task force till the I&B minister appointed Shekhar Joshi of Cable Vision recently. The earlier representative of cable operators in the task force didn't raise his voice and merely toed the line of the MSOs."



All eyes now on the scheduled meetings between the I&B ministry and the broadcasters/MSOs/cable operators scheduled for early next week.

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