MIB amends DTH guidelines, directs players to clear dues for fresh licenses

The license will be valid for a period of 20 years from the date of issue.


NEW DELHI: The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has made amendments to the existing DTH guidelines that will have a wide-ranging impact on the industry. The circular issued by the ministry mentioned that the existing licensees are required to apply afresh to get a license for providing DTH services. Further, the issue of fresh license to the existing licensees will be subject to their clearing all dues and fulfilling all obligations under the terms and conditions of existing license as well as those arising out of legal cases pending before various courts of law.

The license will be valid for a period of 20 years from the date of issue of wireless operational license by wireless planning and coordination wing of the ministry of communications. License may be renewed by 10 years at a time. However, the license can be cancelled/suspended by the licensor at any time in the interest of the Union of India.

A vertically integrated entity will not reserve more than 15 per cent of the operational channel capacity for its vertically integrated operator. The rest of the capacity is to be offered to the other broadcasters on a non-discriminatory basis.

No entry fee will be charged from the DTH operators holding license on the date of notification of these guidelines.

The licensee will have to submit a bank guarantee from any scheduled bank to the MIB for an amount of five crore rupees for the first two quarters, and, thereafter for an amount equivalent to the estimated sum payable, equivalent to the license fee for two quarters and other dues not otherwise securitised. For existing DTH operators, bank guarantee from any scheduled bank for an amount equivalent to the estimated sum payable, equivalent to the license fee for two quarters and other dues not otherwise securitised. Further, the bank guarantee shall be valid for a year which should be renewed on year-on-year basis in such a manner that the bank guarantee remains valid during the entire license period.

The amended guidelines will come into effect immediately, following the Union cabinet's approval of these amendments last week after a long period of uncertainty over DTH license fee.

Now, the licensee shall pay an annual fee equivalent to eight per cent of its adjusted gross revenue, calculated by excluding GST from gross revenue (GR) as reflected in the audited accounts of the company for that particular financial year. The minimum annual license fee shall be subject to 10 per cent of the entry fee. The license fee is to be paid on a quarterly basis, the quantum thereof to be equal to the actual license fee payable for the preceding quarter. The annual settlement of the license fee shall be done at the end of the financial year. The licensor will have the right to modify the license fee as a fixed percentage of AGR during the validity of license period.

The DTH operator would be permitted to operate platform services (PS) channels i.e. DTH operators' own channels exclusively available to its subscribers, to a maximum of five per cent of its total channel carrying capacity. A one-time non-refundable registration fee of Rs 10,000 per PS channel shall be charged from the DTH operator.

DTH operators willing to share DTH platforms and transport stream of TV channels, on a voluntary basis, would be allowed to do so, wherever technically feasible. The common hardware for their subscriber management system (SMS) and conditional access system (CAS) applications can also be voluntarily shared.

Set-top boxes offered by a DTH Service Provider shall have such specifications as laid down by the bureau of lndian standards (BlS) from time to time.

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