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Help Arasu gets no DAS licence yet as Govt debates over state-owned cable TV outfits
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#1
Madras HC pushes digitisation deadline to 5 November in Chennai

Indiantelevision.com Team
(UPDATED 31 October 2012 5:20 pm)
(31 October 2012 3:55 pm)

http://www.indiantelevision.com/headline...oct325.php
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#2
Digitisation deadline for Chennai pushed again till 9 Nov
http://www.indiantelevision.com/headline.../nov42.php
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#3
The petition, noting that repeated requests for extension of the deadline was not acceded to by the Centre, claimed only 164,000 homes have been seeded with STBs in the Chennai and television sets in more than three million homes would go blank if the deadline was not extended. The petitioners also said that the MSOs did not have enough STBs to seed in all the homes.

Noting that the Tamil Nadu government's Arasu Cable Television has entered as the 11th MSO in the state, the CMCOA said Arasu has invited tenders for supply of one million STBs to meet 25 per cent of the city's requirement.

The petitioners wanted the court to stay total implementation of digitisation in Chennai till the infrastructure is put in place.

Meanwhile, state-owned Arasu Cable has started giving ads in local Tamil newspapers urging people to enroll their names by paying Rs 500 in advance to get STBs.

Earlier, MIB had admitted that 'the pace of seeding has remained somewhat static', saying Cable TV digitisation in Chennai was 86 per cent, including 24 per cent of the homes which subscribe to DTH.

The Bombay High Court had refused to grant any relief to cable operators in India's financial capital after the additional solicitor general told the court that the entire city had been digitised.

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#4
The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry On Friday told the Madras High Court that it was prepared to give an extension for implementation of digitisation in Chennai till 31 December provided the stakeholders gave affidavits that they will implement it by then and not seek further extension.

The court extended the stay on digitisation in Chennai till 19 November when it will continue hearing of a petition by Chennai Metro Cable Operators Association (CMCOA) through its general secretary M R Srinivasan, which is seeking extension of digitisation deadline by three months. The court has also sought full details of the number of digital set top boxes available and seeded.

The court had earlier stayed the implementation first on 31 October and then on 5 November.

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#5
During the argument, the counsel of Arasu Cable sought 18 weeks to supply the boxes from the time of placing the order. He said Arasu was negotiating for a good price from the time of placing the order (which may happen before Diwali).

Responding to Arasu's appeal, the I&B counsel said “if they (Arasu Cable) commit December 31, 2012, as time for implementation, then we will consider to extend the deadline.”

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#6
Arasu Cable TV Corp. Ltd, a state government-owned cable television distribution network, has so far failed to get a licence from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to run the network.

Ministry sources told indiantelevision.com that licences have not been issued to any state-owned organisation for running cable TV networks as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). The broadcast sector regulator had recommended that neither state-owned, local bodies nor religious organisations should be permitted to own TV channels.

Though no final decision has been taken, the matter will lead to a discussion in the Ministry as West Bengal and other states have also sought permission to run TV channels. Permitting one will mean that the Centre will not be able to refuse the others, the sources said.

Interestingly, Arasu applied for a DAS (digital addressable system) licence on 5 July 2012.

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2011, that made digitisation mandatory also made it compulsory for all cable companies to get a DAS licence from the government to operate their distribution networks. In the absence of the licence, the operator will not be allowed to operate.

The government has given 11 DAS licences to multi-system operators (MSOs) in Tamil Nadu until now.

Arasu started operations in 2011 after All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam came to power. It had been founded in October 2007 by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) headed by M. Karunanidhi at a time when his family was in a dispute with the Marans, his grandnephews who control Sun TV Network Ltd and MSO SCV. However, plans to project Arasu as a rival of SCV were shelved after the Marans made up with Karunanidhi.

Since its re-launch in September 2011, Arasu has built a network that covers 31 districts in the state (but not Chennai) and reaches 4.9 million households. The number of households serviced by cable companies in the state is estimated at 12 million, according to M.R Srinivasan, general secretary of Chennai Metro Cable TV Operators Association. India has 120 million cable households.

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