DTH

DTH guidelines next week, 20% cap to stay: Swaraj

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On Friday, 9 February, the Economic Times featured a report saying that the government may finally come around on the vexed issue of 20 per cent sectoral and foreign equity cap on broadcasters for direct-to-home broadcasting.

It is something the broadcasting sector has been lobbying for ever since the government finally gave clearance for DTH in November 2000. The report quoted officials in the information and broadcasting ministry.

There was a rider however. The government was not going back on the issue of revenue sharing with DTH service providers, it was reported.

The guidelines issued by the government stipulated a revenue sharing arrangement of 10 per cent as annual fee for the licence period of ten years. Broadcasters have been asking for a five-year moratorium on revenue-sharing.

It may be noted that just a few days earlier it had been reported that while the government was ready for a rethink on the revenue sharing arrangement it was firm that the 20 per cent cap sectoral and foreign equity cap would stay.

A day after the Holi festivities on Sunday, 11 February, after everyone got back to ground reality so to speak I&B minister Sushma Swaraj is toting the old government line: no chance of any change in DTH guidelines. And she's promised yet again that the DTH guidelines will be out next week.

Don't be too sure though. It was on 16 February that Swaraj had last promised that the guidelines would be out in a week.

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