Television

Decision on CAS appeal after stakeholders meeting 27 March: Arora

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MUMBAI: The uncertainty over the implementation of conditional access system (CAS) is not over yet. The government will take a call on whether it should move the Supreme Court only after a meeting with the broadcasters, multi system operators (MSOs), cable TV operators and consumers on 27 March.

"We have invited all the stakeholders for a meeting on 27 March. We will take into consideration their views before deciding whether we should approach the court," I&B secretary S K Arora told Indiantelevision.com.

Early this month, the Delhi High Court had ordered the government to enforce the rollout of addressability in cable pay television (conditional access system or CAS) in India within four weeks. After reserving the judgement for several months, the court had delivered the verdict on a writ petition filed by a bunch of MSOs.

On being queried whether one month was too short a time to implement CAS, Arora said the government's argument in the court was that three months would be needed.

Was the old notification on CAS good enough? "We will discuss all this in the meeting. Only then can we take a stance on whether modifications are necessary," Arora said.

The scheme as it was structured in 2003 ran into rough weather with some of the stakeholders opposing it, Arora added. "We need to resolve these issues. Consumers were opposing it because they felt they were forced to buy the set-top box (STB). Broadcasters came out with a pricing that wasn't serious in intent."

Arora also pointed out that the government was yet to receive the Delhi High court judgment. "We believe the implementation of CAS would come into effect one month from the date of receiving the certified judgment," he said.

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