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Govt to move court to seek more time for CAS implementation

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 5 (UNI) The Government will soon go to the Court to seek more time for implementing the Conditional Access System(CAS) in Delhi, Information and Broadcsating Ministry sources said here today.

The court had on last month directed the Government to implement the system within four weeks.

The deadline ends on April 10. The Ministry officials have held two rounds of meetings with stake holders--Cable operators, Multiple Service Providers and broadcasters in connection with implementation of CAS.

Now another round of meeting is slated for Friday at which the Ministry and other stakeholders will decide on the grounds to be cited to the court in support of their plea to extend the deadline, the sources said.

The High Court had passed the judgment on a petition filed by Hathway Cable Datacom Private Limited and others. The petitioners sought a direction to the Government to implement CAS or pay damages to them, as they had invested several crores of rupees to build infrastructure to implement the system.

Viewers will have to buy a Set-Top-Box, which costs around Rs.

6,000 to make use of the facility. They will have the option of viewing channels of their choice and paying for those only.

Meanwhile, the Cable Operators Federation of India(COFI) today expressed disappointment over absence of foreign broadcaster from the meeting of CAS stakeholders.

President of COFI Roop Sharma in a letter to Secretary I&B Secretray A S Arora has said foreign broadcasters have the most important role to play in these discussions as they provide the content and CAS is needed to account for viewership and provide choice to consumers.They need to declare A-la-carte rates for all pay channels for consumer's benefit.

''Even in the past in 2003, when on the recommendations of the Task Force the Ministry had asked them to provide the A la-carte rates of their pay channels, they refused to oblige. We request you to implement stern measures so that the government and the consumers are not let down due to their vested interests,'' she said.

She also urged the Information and Broadcasting Ministr to delay the Tata -Sky DTH till CAS was implemented to save the Cable TV industry, so that there should be a level playing field for both the technologies.

There are already two DTH services-- 'Direct Plus' of Doordarshan and 'Dish TV' of Zee TV-- which are giving a tough competition to cable operators by giving the customers choice and digital quality with inbuilt CAS, she said.

UNI NAZ/FZ HMIR RN1930

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