iCAS has been integrated with 12.32 lakh STBs across India

MUMBAI: iCAS, the indigenous conditional access system (CAS) developed by Bengaluru-based ByDesign India in association with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, India (C-DAC), has been integrated with 12.32 lakh set top boxes (STBs) across the country.

Further, more than 147 cable TV operators have installed iCAS enabled head-ends. Doordarshan has also decided to leverage the iCAS solution to upgrade its free direct to home (DTH) platform DD Free Dish.

The development and implementation of iCAS for STBs was funded by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) through a public private partnership (PPP) model.

In its reply to the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has stated that the development of iCAS has enabled India to enter a niche market hitherto dominated by few big global companies.

According to the ministry, the iCAS is beneficial to domestic STB manufacturers and Operators because it is available to them at a price of USD 0.5/ license for a period of three years, as against market price of USD 3-5/ license for other competing products.

The iCAS enabled STBs have been deployed even in remote regions of the country, it added.

As per industry projections, there is a demand for 1-1.5 crore STBs in near future. About 11 crore STBs have already been installed throughout the country out of which about 20% to 30% have been procured from the domestic STB manufacturers.

In its report last year, the IT committee had noted that the domestic STBs are a small percentage of the total STBs in the country. This despite the fact that the MeitY has been encouraging the use of indigenous manufactured STBs and taken several steps such as increasing import duty on STBs from 5% to 10% and putting most of the components used for the manufacturing of STBs in the 0% import duty bracket.

The committee had also noted that the domestic manufacturing of STBs will pick up if there is an Indian CAS. Accordingly, MeitY has got an iCAS developed from a Bengaluru based company. As per the terms of contract, the design of i-CAS cannot be given to any foreign company for three years.