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CAS suspended indefinitely news
Our Corporate Bureau
28 February 2004

New Delhi: The implementation of the Conditional Access System (CAS) has been put on hold with the Government yesterday issuing a notification suspending the rollout of CAS indefinitely.

Speaking to newspersons, the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, said, "We have decided to accept the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) recommendation and suspend the implementation of CAS indefinitely." The Government had last year amended the Cable TV Act whereby pay channels would have to be received through a set top box (STB).

The Government's decision would effectively mean that it would no longer be a cognisable offence to receive pay channels without an addressable system. Officials in the I&B Ministry clarified, "CAS has not been called off, but has been kept in suspended animation. When TRAI makes its recommendations on various issues, CAS will be revisited."

According to the notification, the previous two notifications of January 14 and July 10 stand suspended. "The Central Government, having been satisfied that it is necessary in public interest so to do hereby suspends the operation of notifications of Government of India from the date of publication of this notification until such date as may be notified by the Centre," the notification said.

The broadcast regulator, the TRAI, had recommended that CAS be kept in abeyance for at least three months following opposition from all the four State Governments where it was to be implemented. Government sources said that the differences between the various stakeholders on issues relating to pricing of pay channels, revenue share and auditing mechanisms led to the failure of CAS. The TRAI would look into these very issues and come up with its recommendations in the next three months.

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CAS suspended indefinitely