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MSO number touches 940 with forty more getting clearance in June 2016

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NEW DELHI: As the country marches towards the deadline of the final phase which will complete cable digitlization all over the country, as many as forty multi-system operators have received provisional licences in June and taken the total to 711.

Early this month, the government announced the cancellation of the permanent licence of one more MSO and the number of permanent licencees (up to ten years) fell by one to 229.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had cancelled the licences of 27 MSOs and closed their cases by 2 June. In most of the other cases in the list of cancelled registrations, it is because of failure to get security clearance from the Home ministry. However, there are cases of many MSOs holding provisional licences not completing certain formalities relating to shareholders and so on.

According to the latest list upto 28 June 2016, the area of operation of four MSOs have been revised after 2 June, one of which - Thamizhaga Cable TV Communication Pvt. Ltd, Chennai – has now got licence to operate pan-India barring the metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Chennai is in any case under stay following a court order after the first phase.

Of the new licencees, three - Fastway Media Cable Network Pvt. Ltd of Delhi, Metro Trade Links of Bhopal, and Megbela Infitel Cable & Broadband Private Limited from New Delhi have got pan India licences.

The other new registrations include the states of, or specific districts in, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhatisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh.

With the Home ministry directive about doing away with security clearances for MSOs not being communicated in writing to the MIB, the pace remains slow.

The permanent licence issued to Kal Cable of Chennai had been cancelled on 20 August 2014, but this cancellation was set aside by Madras High Court on 5 September the same year. However, Kal Cable’s name continues to be in the cancelled list – presumably because the cases are still pending.

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