Technology

DIPP proposes FDI hike in cable, DTH sector

NEW DELHI: The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has given a thumbs up for uniform foreign direct investment (FDI) in broadcast carriage services sector, including cable TV and direct-to-home.


The DIPP, which functions under the Industry Ministry, has circulated a draft cabinet note which also includes raising overseas investments limits according to suggestions given by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).


The note has been sent to different ministries, including Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Law, Finance, and Department of Telecommunications. The note will have to be approved by these Ministries before it can be sent to the cabinet.


The draft note wants the FDI limits in the broadcast carriage services sector such as cable TV, DTH and Headend-In-The-Sky (HITS) to be made uniform.


This will meant a major increase in the FDI cap in the distribution platforms from 49 per cent to 74 per cent and also enforce a uniform FDI cap across various carriage platforms like DTH, IPTV, Mobile TV, HITS and cable companies. At present, 49 per cent FDI is allowed in cable TV and DTH, while it is 74 per cent in HITS.
 
In June last year, Trai had made suggestions to raise FDI for
broadcast carriage services like DTH to 74 per cent. The broadcast sector regulator had also recommended reducing the FDI cap for analogue cable firms from 49 per cent to 26 per cent, but the I&B Ministry did not agree.


Under the proposal, there is also provision for putting 49 per cent FDI (out of the proposed 74%) on automatic route.
 
The move is expected to help the media which has been clamouring for more foreign investment, and for several foreign investors including expatriate Indians.


At present the FDI norms for Mobile TV, HITS and IPTV are pegged at 74 per cent and for cable distribution companies at 49 per cent.


The country has about 106 million cable and satellite homes in India, of which 26 million are DTH while 80 million are cable homes. There are 706 TV channels in India.

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