The Multi-System Operators (MSO) Alliance has written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting early approval of the digitalisation plan recommended by TRAI to extend Conditional Access System (CAS) to 55 cities. The policy has been pending with Information and Broadcasting ministry for over three years.
It maybe noted that the Internet protocol television (IPTV) has been given a nod by the cabinet last week. Telecom companies are also prepared to roll out their IPTV services by the end of this year. This would increase competition and is likely to put immense pressure on growth of digital cable.
Several MSOs are pushing digital cable through a set top boxes in non-CAS areas by installing digital head ends. However MSOs and cable operator believe that notification of the policy on CAS would give them further fillip in maintaining their subscriber base and help them not to loose it to other addressable systems.
"If CAS is extended , it would only help the consumer become more aware about digital cable. If it becomes mandatory then it would make the consumer shift to digital cable from analogue cable. It will obviously help all the other addressable systems too, as then the consumer would be forced to take a decision," said a senior executive with an MSO company.
MSOs and independent cable operators had started stacking up set top boxes after TRAI had recommended extension of CAS in 55 addition cities. However without any policy on the issue, they have been left in limbo. The policy on HITS suffered a similar fate. Some MSO organisations were also contemplating a legal course, however it has been postponed for now.