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iCAS has been deployed by 80 MSOs

NEW DELHI: Indigenous conditional access system or iCAS has been deployed in 300,000 set-top boxes (STBs) by about 80 multi-system operators (MSOs) across the country, according to a report submitted by the Standing Committee on Information & Technology (SCIT) in Lok Sabha.

In a written note to the committee, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) stated that, after the rollout of iCAS, about 100 lakh (1 crore) STBs had been installed by MSOs, out of which about three lakh STBs were with iCAS, giving a market share of 3%.

iCAS is being developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in collaboration with Bengaluru-based ByDesign, which expects 10 lakh STBs with iCAS to be installed in the next 6–9 months.

The iCAS design was approved by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) in November 2015 and its rollout started in January 2016.

The committee sought to know how far the Make in India initiative was being leveraged for manufacturing of domestic STBs and whether the MIB had taken specific steps in this regard in coordination with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP).

In reply, the ministry stated that, as per data provided by the sssociation of domestic STB manufacturers, during the period 2013–16, 190 lakh STBs were produced by domestic manufacturers. The association of domestic STBs manufacturers had demanded long-term financing to the MSOs.

The association had also pointed out that import duty under India–ASEAN FTA had gone down to 0% with effect from 1 January 2016. This would adversely affect the production of domestic STBs. The issues were pointed out to the DIPP, and the Cabinet Secretariat had decided that DeitY (now MeitY) could take up the suitable programme to facilitate domestic production of STBs in the country in consultation with the MIB.

MeitY is trying to address the entire value chain holistically and is in active consultation with the ministries concerned.