Cable TV

Post-DAS, tardy MSO registrations in six months, 14 new additions

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NEW DELHI: Despite the fact that it is more than six months since the country adopted digital addressable system (DAS) for cable television, the number of multi-system operators (MSOs) has risen by meagre 14 over the last two months to reach 1469 as on 30 September 2017.

This total reflects poorly against figures given by the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) before the DAS Task Force that there are 6,000 MSOs in India.

The total at the end of July was 1455. In the latest list put on its website on Tuesday, the ministry has noted the cancellation of Live Satellite in Maharashtra. Early this year, the government had said all provisional multi-system operators will be deemed as having regular licence. 

Unlike last time, there is no separate list of MSOs who have gone to court like Godfather Communication Pvt Ltd of Punjab judgment in the case of which was expected at September-end or of the Tamil Nadu Arasu TV Corporation which has been given time till this week to prove it has switched off analogue signals. The MSO had claimed to have gone digital on 1 September.

MIB officials had earlier this year 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.

There is a no list of cancelled MSOs or those whose cases have been closed. The figures revealed on 3 August until July-end had given a list of 63 MSOs whose licences were cancelled or cases closed.

Faced with just less than one month to go before total switch-off of analogue signals, the Government had on 6 March 2017 decided to treat all MSOs as permanent but with condition that the period of ten 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 MIB specified. All other terms and conditions depicted 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 MIB.

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 MIB, 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 ministry list also contains full details of ownership and date of permission including contact details of the MSOs.

Also read :

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

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

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

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