The Statesman, 03rd June 2003

The Conditional Access System (CAS) regime will usher in a situation where those with the means will be able to see the channels they want to, while others will have to do without, said state consumer affairs minister Mr Naren De. He was speaking at a discussion entitled Cable TV Fiasco: The Way Out, which brought together representatives of local cable operators, consumer forums and Multi System Operators (MSOs) to throw light on the confusion raging over the implementation of the Conditional Access System.

The minister also questioned whether it was prudent on the part of the central government to import the Set Top Box (STB) at a much higher cost when they could have been manufactured locally. This would have encouraged domestic manufacturers as well as generated jobs.

The discussion was organised by the Consumer Unity Trust and Society (CUTS), a consumer interest body. Apart from the minister, present at the occasion were Mr Mrinal Chatterjee, representative of cable operators, Mr Sudip Ghosh, director of city MSO Manthan, Ms Mala Banerjee of the Federation of Consumer Associations and Mr Pradeep Mehta of CUTS.

While the general agreement was that there is no real confusion regarding CAS, save that generated by vested business interests, and that some of the aspects of the proposed system were far from perfect, no particular solution could not be agreed upon.
Mr Ghosh alleged that broadcasters were against the implementation of CAS because it would then be known how popular their channels really are.

Ms Banerjee advised viewers to go slow and adopt a ‘wait and watch’ policy, and stressed that there was no real urgency to buy STBs since the Free to Air (FTA) channels would suffice for an average