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Govt to launch CAS in other metros soon

The government's failure to launch CAS in time irks cable companies which have suffered losses.

delhi Updated: Apr 11, 2007 12:57 IST

The government is gearing up to launch the conditional access system (CAS) for television viewing in the rest of Delhi and other metros within six months.

Additional Solicitor General PP Malhotra disclosed the government plan last week to a Delhi High Court bench headed by Chief Justice MK Sharma, while hearing a petition by Hathway Cables demanding an early launch of CAS.

Malhotra said, while CAS for TV viewing had been introduced in south Delhi since January 1, viewers in Chennai had been watching encrypted channels through CAS.

He added that steps were on to introduce CAS technology in all metros and the remaining parts of the Indian capital within six months.

The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, disposed of Hathway Cable's petition, saying the government was already taking steps to implement the courts' direction.

Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Hathway Cables, argued that the company had incurred a huge loss by manufacturing Set Top boxes and other instruments after the government notified the implementation of CAS technology in February 2004.

But the government did not launch the system in time, which led to several companies suffering heavy losses, Jethmalani argued.

Malhotra, however, defended the government decision to defer the launching of CAS.

Neither the broadcasters nor multi service operators (MSO) nor local cable operators were in a position to switch over to the CAS technology and reach the viewers on the particular day, he said.

"The act of the authority would have been injurious to the interests of consumers for whom the CAS has been designed," he added.

"It was extremely important to examine the entire issue in a holistic manner in order to safeguard the consumers' interests and facilitate them to make an informed choice," Malhotra said.

Had the CAS been launched earlier, the introduction of direct-to-home (DTH) services would have been affected, he said, adding DTH was a better technology.

He also said the government was trying to protect the interest of the consumers by implementing CAS technology and DTH services simultaneously in the country.

First Published: Apr 11, 2007 12:21 IST