TRAI recommendations on broadcasting of TV channels in India

TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) on Monday submitted its recommendations on issues relating to broadcasting — uplinking and downlinking — of television channels in India.
tvTRAI said the existing amounts of minimum net-worth of an applicant company seeking permissions for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels should be continued.

Existing amount of onetime non-refundable processing fee of Rs 10,000 from the applicant company along with application for seeking permission under existing uplinking guidelines and downlinking guidelines should be continued.

The existing administrative system for grant of permissions for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels should be continued as auction process for grant of permissions for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels is not feasible.

The process of granting permission for uplinking of satellite TV channels from India should be streamlined by removing redundant processes, re-engineer necessary processes, and making them efficient using ICT.

The process of granting permission and registration for downlinking of satellite TV channels should be streamlined

# channels having permission for uplinking from India require registration only
# channels being uplinked from outside India require permission as well as registration.
# MHA should take the decision on security clearance to an applicant company and its key personnel within 60 days
# Validity period of security clearance granted to a company should be equal to the permission / license period granted to that company for broadcasting services.
# Security clearance to the key personnel should be valid for 10 years.
# No need for existing broadcasting company to seek fresh security clearance for permissions for additional satellite TV channels
# DoS should take the decision on clearance for satellite use for broadcasting services in 60 days
# No need for fresh clearance from DoS for uplinking of new satellite TV channels to the already cleared satellites having vacant capacity
# WPC should allocate the spectrum for commercial satellite usage in a time bound manner

TRAI said MIB should take up the issue of open sky policy for Ku band frequencies in INSAT Coordination Committee (ICC) meeting and the open sky policy should be adopted.

MIB should setup an integrated online portal for broadcasters, teleport operators, and distributors of TV channels (DTH operators/HITS operators/MSOs) which should facilitate the filing of applications, processing in MIB, DoS and DoT, tracking of status of applications, payments, frequency allocations, endorsements, permissions, licenses, registrations, and renewals with common database.

MIB in consultation with MHA and DoS should take decision within three months from the date of application for security clearance of the company from MHA or satellite clearance from DoS.

MIB should take decisions in 45 days if security and satellite clearances are not required.

WPC should take the decision on grant of WOL including allocation of frequency within a period of 60 days.

The decision to grant permission for operationalising the services, including time taken by MIB, WPC, DoS, MHA, and NOCC for issuing permissions, should be completed within 6 months period in case of uplinking of channel by a new company/ teleport/ DTH licenses.

Existing amount of entry fee for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels should be continued.

Permission fee will be Rs 3 lakh per annum for uplinking of a satellite TV Channel from Indian soil.

License fee will be Rs 7.5 lakh per annum for downlinking of a satellite TV channel, uplinked from India.

License fee will be Rs 22.5 lakh per annum for downlinking of a satellite TV channel, uplinked from foreign soil.

TRAI said that encryption of broadcast of FTA channels should not be mandated and it should be left to the broadcasters providing FTA channels.

The transfer of permissions for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels should not be permitted between two different companies. Transfer of permissions for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels should be permitted in case of merger and acquisition as recognised under the Companies Act, 2013.

There should be no requirement to obtain separate clearances from Department of Space (DoS) for seeking permission to set up teleport on already cleared satellite subject to clearance by NOCC for such teleport.

The processing fee will be Rs 10,000 for seeking permission for a teleport under the existing uplinking guidelines.

There will be no entry fee for granting permission for establishing teleport in India.

There will be a fixed annual license fee of Rs 3 lakh for each antenna. There should not be any restriction on the number of teleports. The location of teleports should be left to the teleport operators subject to site clearance from WPC wing of DoT.

Market forces should decide the measures to ensure optimal use of their existing teleport infrastructure depending upon the business considerations.

The TRAI recommendations indicate that MIB should enable specific penal provisions for teleport operators under the policy guidelines to deal with unauthorised uplinking.

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