Regulators

Govt. in no hurry to take call on CAS

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NEW DELHI: The government is no hurry to take a final decision on broadcast and cable regulators recommendations on conditional access, distribution of channels and a new policy for FM radio broadcasts in the country.

In this regard, the information and broadcasting ministry has now sought the views from various state governments, I&B minister Jaipal Reddy informed Lok Sabha (Lower House) today.

The recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority if India (Trai) are under various stages of examination, Reddy informed fellow parliamentarians,indicating that no time frame can be indicated for a final decision on Trais recommendations.

In October, Trai had submitted a voluminous report to the government suggesting various models for implementing conditional access or addressability in Indian cable homes. It had suggested three models for rolling our CAS. Reason for these options: one system of addressability cannot be feasible for the whole country, though in the long run the system is the best way to bring about transparency in the industry.

Controversially, it had suggested that any new pay channel launched after 26 December , 2003 must come through a set-top box on a mandatory basis and would not form part of an exiting bouquet.Ditto for free to air channels turning pay.

Setting the ball rolling for the second phase of privatisation of FM radio, Trai had recommended there should be migration to revenue share of four per cent annually (since then unofficially rejected by the government) and that up to 26 per cent foreign investment could be allowed, subject to government review of the existing policy that bars any foreign investment in this sector.

In Parliament today, Reddy also did not indicate whether a time frame had been given to the state government to revert with their views on various issues.

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