Cable TV

Reddy silent as cable fraternity pushes for CAS

NEW DELHI: A delegation of cable operators and multi-system operators (MSO) today met the new information and broadcasting minister Jaipal Reddy, exhorting him to implement the conditional access system (CAS).

According to government sources, the minister "listened to all that the delegation had to say," but did not commit anything, saying that the issue of CAS was being looked into by the broadcast and telecom regulator and the government would only take a view on it once the regulator had finalised its recommendations.

The cable fraternity harped on the known tunes in front of Reddy, including the fact that most of them have taken a financial hit for no fault of their own. A representative of an MSO is reported to have said that it was the (previous) government that had put the pressure on them to invest in

infrastructure related to CAS, which was not implemented.

The cable delegation also requested that tax sops extended on import of set-top boxes for CAS be extended. The deadline for the sops, extended by the previous government, ended in February.

However, a senior government official pointed out to the delegation of MSOs, led by Zee Tele vice-chairman Jawahar Goel, that after February the government has no information of STBs being actually imported.

On his part, Reddy assured the delegation that their grievances would be looked into, but did not give any time frame or assurances.

The Congress party, which leads the present coalition government, had, in vain, opposed CAS in the Parliament before a legislation relating to it was steamrolled by the previous government. An important ally of the present government, the Left parties, too were against implementing CAS, which, they felt, would end up putting more financial burden on consumers rather than reducing it.

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