Cable TV

37 new MSOs in 45 days takes total to 1421, seven among 59 cases sub-judice

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NEW DELHI: In an attempt to give a spurt to digitisation, as many as 37 multi-system operators were registered during May and the first fortnight of June to take the total number to 1421.

Following the decision of the government to deem all provisional multi-system operators as having regular licence and giving a provisional licence to the Tamil Nadu Arasu TV Corporation, there is a composite list instead of separate lists for provisional or permanent (ten year) licencees.

In addition, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has released a list of 59 MSOs, of which seven are pending in courts and the others have been treated as closed. Faced with just less than a month before the switch-off of analogue signals, the government had, on 6 March 2017, decided to treat all MSOs as permanent but with the condition that the period of 10 years commences from the date they got registered as provisional MSOs.

However, if the continuation of registration of any MSO is at any time found to be or considered detrimental to the security of the state, then the registration so granted is liable to be cancelled/suspended, the order placed on the ministry's website specified. All other terms and conditions stated in the provisional registration letter(s) will continue to apply.

Earlier, on 27 January 2017, it was decided that all registered MSOs are free to operate in any part of the country, irrespective of registration for specified DAS notified areas. However, they have to submit the details of Headend, SMS, subscribers list and a self-certificate that they are carrying all the mandatory TV Channels, within six months from date of issuance of MSO registration, to the ministry, failing which the MSO registration is liable to cancelled/suspended.

Hence, all deemed regular registered MSOs also are required to submit the details to the ministry within six months.

The Tamil Nadu-Government-run TACTV was granted provisional licence on 18 April 2017 to operate as a MSO in the state on the condition that it switches off analogue signals in the state within three months which has now been extended to 17 August 2017.

The MIB had then told indiantelevision.com that it had been made clear that the provisional licence was subject to the Centre taking a final decision on the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India that no government-owned body should be permitted in the field of running or distributing television channels. TRAI had, in 2008, 2012 and 2014, held that state governments and political parties should not be permitted to own TV channels or distribution channels.

In Tamil Nadu where there is a court stay in operation since Phase I, TACTV had warned MSOs and LCOs against switching off analogue signals anywhere in the state after 31 March 2017.

Arasu had been granted provisional licence in 2006 at the time of the Conditional Access System on certain conditions based on the TRAI report but this had not been renewed when Digital Addressable System came into force.

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