NEW DELHI: With registration being given to eight more multi-system operators, the total number of MSOs has risen to 1384 by the end of April 2017.
Following the decision of the government to deem all provisional multi-system operators as having regular licence and giving a provisional licence to the Tamil Nadu Arasu TV Corporation, the total number of MSOs went up to 1376 by the third week of April.
Interestingly, the new list of MSOs now also gives the e-mail and mobile numbers of the MSOs as it has done away with the columns specifying area of coverage or date of registration. Thus, TACTV is the only MSO on the provisional list and all the others are deemed to have a permanent licence for ten years.
Thus, there has been increase of 202 MSOs in the country since the end of February as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had given registration to 1182 MSOs by the end of February 2017 which included 230 which had valid ten-year licences.
But, faced with just less than one month to go before total switch-off of analogue signals, the Government had on, 6 March 2017, decided to treat all MSOs as permanent but with condition that the period of ten years commences from the date they got registered as provisional MSOs.
However, if the continuation of registration of any MSO is at any time found to be or considered detrimental to the security of the State then the registration so granted is liable to be cancelled/suspended, the order placed on the Ministry website mib.nic.in specified.
All other terms and conditions depicted in the provisional registration letter(s) wlll continue to apply.
Earlier, on 27 January 2017, it had been decided that all registered MSOs are free to operate in any part of the country, irrespective of registration for specified DAS notified areas granted by this Ministry.
However, they have to submit the details of Headend, SMS, subscribers list and a self-certificate that they are carrying all the mandatory TV Channels, within six months from date of issuance of MSO registration, to the Ministry, failing which the MSO registration is liable to cancelled/suspended.
Hence, all deemed regular registered MSOs also are required to submit the details to the Ministry within six months.
The Tamil Nadu-Government-run TACTV was granted provisional licence on 18 April 2017 to operate as a MSO in the state on condition that it switches off analogue signals in the entire state within three months.
The Ministry had told indiantelevision.com that it had been made clear that the provisional licence was subject to the Centre taking a final decision on the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India that no government owned body should be permitted in the field of running or distributing television channels. TRAI had in 2008, 2012 and 2014 held that state governments and political parties should not be permitted to own TV channels or distribution channels.
In Tamil Nadu where there is a court stay in operation since Phase I, TACTV had warned MSOs and LCOs against switching off analogue signals anywhere in the state after 31 March 2017.
The sources said that Arasu had been granted provisional licence in 2006 at the time of the Conditional Access System on certain conditions based on the TRAI report but this had not been renewed when Digital Addressable System came into force.
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