Regulators

TRAI extends DTH licence period to 20 years

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its recommendations for a new DTH licensing regime today. As part of this, the period of DTH licence has been extended from the current 10 years to 20 years, renewable by 10 years at a time.

The Regulator has said that the existing licence fee will be reduced from 10 per cent of gross revenue to 8 per cent of adjusted gross revenue, in line with the telecom licences.

Also, the existing DTH licensees will be permitted to migrate to new regime at any time during the currency of the existing licences. Meanwhile, the one time entry fee has been retained at Rs 10 crore.

The salient features of the recommended new DTH licensing regime are as follows:

? The   period   of  DTH  license  to  be  increased  from   10  years to  20  years, renewable by 10 years at a time.

? One time entry fee to be retained at Rs 10 crore.

? Existing license fee to be reduced from 10 per cent of gross revenue (GR) to 8 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) in line with the telecom licenses.

? The existing DTH licensees to be permitted to migrate to new regime at any time during the currency of their existing licenses.

? BIS   to    come     out    with     updated     specifications for     STBs in consultation with TRAI which should be complied by DTH licensees.

? The DTH licensees to be mandated to comply with the tariff order  scheme prescribed by TRAI for commercial inter-operability.

The salient features of the Recommendation on Cross Holding/Control in the Broadcasting and Distribution Sectors are as follows:

? Policy on Cross-holding/Control to be restructured to bring in uniformity in the broadcasting and distribution sectors.

? Comprehensive definition of ?control? to be uniformly adopted in all segments of broadcasting and distribution sectors.

? Relevant market for DTH to be the   entire country and   for MSO /HITS - State.

? Broadcasters and Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) - MSO /HITS  and DTH operators to be separate legal entities.

Rationalised and regulated vertical integration to be permitted between broadcasters and DPOs.

? Vertically integrated broadcaster(s) and DPO   to   be   subjected   to additional set of regulations.

?A vertically integrated broadcaster to be permitted to control only one DPO.

? A vertically integrated DPO to be restricted from controlling any other DPO of other category in the relevant market.

? A vertically integrated DPO not to be permitted to acquire more than 33 per cent of the market share in the relevant market.

The additional regulations for a vertically integrated broadcaster to include:

? The   agreements with   the   DPOs   to be non-discriminatory and   on charge-per-subscriber (CPS) basis.

? To file the   Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) for approval by the Authority. All Interconnection Agreements to be only on the terms specified in the RIO.

? To make disclosures as prescribed by the Authority.

The  additional regulations for a vertically integrated DPO would  include:

? DPO to declare its channel carrying capacity and not to reserve more than 15 per cent of this capacity for its vertically integrated broadcaster(s). Rest of the capacity to be offered to other broadcasters on non? discriminatory basis.

? DPO   to   publish the   access fees   for carriage of channels over   its network.  The    charging of   the    access fees    should be   on   non? discriminatory basis.

? To make disclosures as prescribed by the Authority.

? The   Authority  to  come   out   with   appropriate  Regulations/Orders for  the regulatory  framework  and  disclosures  after    the   government   takes  the   policy decision on  the  recommendations.

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