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Mixed reaction on CAS outcome

Cable operators divided in their opinion about a possible reduction in cable TV user charges in the wake of the Delhi HC order.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 17:49 IST

Local cable operators were divided in their opinion about a possible reduction in cable TV user charges in the wake of the Delhi High Court order on Conditional Access System, which would give viewers greater choice of channels.

"I am not sure whether CAS implementation would eventually bring down the cost for the customer to a large extent. But, as few stakeholders are saying this, it may be possible," Zee Group-run Siti Cable's head Jawahar Goel said.

But Cable Operators Federation of India president Rupa Sharma and HTMT (Incablenet) executive director Ashok Mansukhani were emphatic that users charges would go down.

Sharma claimed that subscribers would now have to pay only about Rs 75-150 per month from about Rs 250 a month.

On the four week deadline set by the high court for implementation of CAS, the operators were sceptical.

Goel said, it is difficult to say that all MSOs would complete CAS implementation within the specified deadline.

"Most of the MSOs have already invested more than Rs 300 crores to upgrade their systems and large number of set top boxes are available in the market," he said.

"We are very much hopeful of CAS implementation deadline to be followed this time..As all the MSOs are ready with the infrastructure to implement it and enough number of set top boxes are available in the market," said Mansukhani, who is also the president of the MSO alliance.

Under the previous NDA government, CAS was introduced to solve problems like under-declaration of number of cable homes which was leading to tax evasion and monopolistic practices.

CAS was to have been implemented as of July 2003, but only Chennai and Delhi have made some headway in this direction.

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 17:49 IST