| It is also understood that the broadcasters
would absorb a large part of the financial implication of this scheme,
while the MSOs would also take some of the burden.
If this works out, then it means that consumers who buy a box between
September and December may only have to have Rs 72, plus taxes,
for TV channels, including pay and free to air.
According to government sources, Zee Telefilms CMD Subhash Chandra
has personally conveyed to information and broadcasting minister
Ravi Shankar Prasad of the schemes that Zee and other broadcasters
would offer to consumers for a month or more to lure them into buying
Chandra, who could not be contacted by indiantelevision.com for
a confirmation on this, is also reported to have told the minister
that others like Star and Sony have also agreed on this, government
sources said. Official comments from Star India and Sony Entertainment
TV India were also not available today. CAS is slated to be rolled
out area-wise in the four metros of Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and
Mumbai from 1 September.
STBs WAITING FOR BUYERS
Government officials today also admitted that there doesn't
seem to be much enthusiasm amongst the general hoi-polloi of the
four metros on CAS or its implementation as most people are slightly
skeptical on the rollout.
"Our feedback is that there is certainly some difficulty in
pushing the boxes as the people are still uncertain on the fate
of CAS because of political reasons," a senior government official
Some government officials recently had a meeting with the industry
representatives in Mumbai to take stock of the situation as also
toured some areas there where CAS is likely to be rolled out as
part of the first phase in south zones.
The officials also said that the industry expects by 1 September
about 4,35,000 boxes would be in the country. "The problem
now doesn't seem to be of the boxes, but people actually acquiring
them," an official said.
According to the information available with the government, 1,53,000
boxes have been cleared by the customs department till 31 July,
while another 80,000-odd are being assembled in the country. In
addition, about 53,000 boxes are in the process of being cleared
by government departments.
It is also learnt that the broadcasters want the government to
continue playing the role of facilitator till the time the CAS issue
is settled formally and the rollout becomes normal.
ANOTHER NOTIFICATION TO SAFEGUARD CONSUMERS
The proposed notification would detail the type of set-top boxes
and after sales services that would be offered to a consumer by
a cable operator.
According to a government official, the draft of the notification
is being studied by the law ministry and would be issued soon.
The notification would detail, among other things, the following
subjects that a cable operator would have to follow and also ensure
that it is properly conveyed to a consumer:
· Type of set-top box
· Purpose of the box
· Technical specifications
· Payment schemes
· The refundable security amount (if the box is taken on
· Time for refund
· Maintenance details
· Validity of the offer
· Number of call centers for complaints , etc
· Period of warranty
The proposed notification, which would be the fourth in the CAS
series, would also make it mandatory for the cable service provider
to tell the consumers of an area 15 days before addressability is
rolled out there.