Can CNBC India uplink through TV-18's teleport?

NEW DELHI: Television Eighteen Ltd., the New Delhi-based 49 per cent joint venture partner in CNBC India, has sought government permission to explore whether its teleport facility can be used to do a point-to-point uplink of the business news channel from India.

"We have a teleport licence and have sought government guidance whether we can use the facility to uplink CNBC India from India in a point-to-point mode instead of doing so through Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL)," a senior executive of Television Eighteen Ltd told 

Seeking to distance itself from the Star News case, which is still pending with the government for necessary policy direction, the TV-18 executive added, "Our case is different from that of Star News as we already have a teleport licence and are seeking to link the India studio to the Singapore studio."

In a letter that has gone to the government (read the information and broadcasting ministry), TV-18 Ltd has sought to clarify whether the teleport licence it has also covers point-to-point uplinking. A senior government official explained there is a bit of lack of clarity in the TV-18 issue and it is being "examined." 

Media observers, meanwhile, feel that linking the TV-18 issue with that of Star News is unfair. Whereas TV-18 Ltd is an Indian company listed on Indian stock exchanges with all the directors and promoters being Indian, the case of Star News Broadcasting involves a foreign company with three foreign directors (as pointed out by I&B minister Sushma Swaraj) on board seeking to dish out news and current affairs programming 24 hours for primarily Indian viewers.

At one stage, Star had also sounded out TV-18 Ltd for a possible association envisaging using the latter's teleport licence and broadcasting facilities in India to carry out the news gathering business for Star News post March 31, 2003 when Star takes full control of Star News.

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