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CAS rollout: Delhi HC 'no' to government plea for more time

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NEW DELHI: The Indian government yet again pleaded for more time to roll out CAS --- six months to be exact --- but a Delhi court has refused to accede to the request asking for a final stand by the next date of hearing.

According to early information available with Indiantelevision.com, even the broadcast regulator pleaded for four to five months time to sort out CAS-related issues like pricing of TV channels.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) submitted to the Delhi High Court today that it has initiated a dialogue with the industry stakeholders on issues related to CAS and which would take few months time to complete and arrive at some consensus.

However, the court was in no mood to listen to such pleas and fixed the next date of hearing for 19 July.

The court observed that if the government is unable to sort out CAS matters, then it could also explore the possibility of going ahead with the rollout based on the Chennai model.

It also said that the government has already used up three month’s time from 10 March when the first directive came to roll out CAS in Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai within a month’s time.

Chennai is the only city in India where CAS has been rolled out and running smoothly since 2003.

Reference to do away with government mandated CAS was also mentioned in the court today during a hearing and reference was made of the relevant section from a draft Broadcast Bill 2006, which is being circulated amongst government organizations for feedback.

A clutch of MSOs, including Hathway and INCablenet, had filed a case against the government on CAS in the Delhi High Court late 2004, alleging that keeping addressability in abeyance had resulted in financial losses to the petitioners.

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