Cable TV

Godfather, Kal, Digi Cable & Intermedia licence cancellation stayed, 50 'pan-India' MSOs' op area changed

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NEW DELHI: After a spurt till mid-June, the rise in the number of multi-system operators has shown a mild increase of 34 registrations taking the total of registered MSOs to 1455. Early this year, the government had said all provisional multi-system operators will be deemed as having regular licence.

A separate list has been issued mentioning the Tamil Nadu Arasu TV Corporation whose area will be confined to Tamil Nadu, and Godfather Communication where it states the areas of operation is Punjab, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. However, the registration shall be subject to the final court order in a writ filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court against the ministry's order of 29 September 2013.

There is a third list of 63 MSOs licences of which were cancelled or cases closed. This includes Godfather and Kal Cable of Chennai, Digi Cable Network (India) and Intermedia Cable Communication of Delhi where cancellation of registration was stayed by respective high courts.

The area of operation of around 50 MSOs has been changed despite an order earlier this year that all MSOs were free to operate pan-India  to speed up digital addressable system.

Faced with just less than a month before total 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 at any time is 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 shown in the provisional registration letters will continue to apply.

Earlier, on 27 January 2017, it had been decided that all registered MSOs are free to operate in any part of the country, irrespective of registration for specified DAS notified areas granted by this ministry. However, they have to submit the details of the headend, SMS, subscribers' list and a self-certificate that they are carrying all the mandatory TV channels, within six months from the 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 an MSO in the state on the condition that it switches off analogue signals in the entire state within three months, which has now been extended to 17 August 2017.

The Ministry 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.

Sources said that 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.

Also read:

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

Arasu gets provisional MSO licence subject to analogue switch-off in three months

Including Arasu, total number of MSOs goes up to 1376, to ensure DAS implementation

Punjab govt. studying Arasu & other regulatory models on distribution 

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