Around one-and-half-months after the CAS rolled out in notified areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, MC Chaube, Advisor, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that the current tariff order is likely to continue till the middle of the year when a review and a re-look would be held. Chaube was addressing the two-day seminar organized by Satellite and Cable Television (ScaT).
He said that the customer-centric Rs 5 pricing of pay-channels was in line with TRAI’s intention to give viewers affordable rates. Claiming that set top boxes are no longer in short supply, he said, “The current battle is to get subscriber forms and put subscriber management systems in place.”
“Making CAS mandatory for non-metros might not work but there is no bar on opting for it in non-notified area,” he said adding that the critical factor of voluntary CAS would be the ability of broadcasters and MSOs to reach a commercial agreement. He also made it clear that TRAI was just a carriage regulator and hence the date and areas of notification for CAS rollout rests with the I&B Ministry. “The TRAI’s regulatory framework stood on a tripod of tariff order, revenue share and quality of service, he said.
He hinted at the possibility of consolidation in the future, with smaller players likely to find the business unviable, once voluntary CAS is implemented. Voting for longer notice period before voluntary rollout of CAS in non-notified areas, he said that the TRAI does not find any compelling issues that need to be addressed before the middle of the year.