MIB awards 14 new provisional MSO licences; no new permanent license

NEW DELHI: Despite the Phase III deadline for Digital Addressable System (DAS) barely two weeks away and the Government’s assertions over this past weekend, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has granted provisional licences to 14 multi-system operator (MSOs).

However, as per the updated list, the MIB has not granted any new permanent MSO license.

With this, the number of 10-year (permanent) registrations for MSOs remains 230 and the total has only risen by 14 to 567 by including the 337 which got provisional clearance (till 15 December, 2015).

According to the list put on the MIB’s website, Kal Cables of Chennai and Digi Cable Network of Mumbai remain on the cancellation list. Scod 18 Networking Pvt Ltd of Mumbai has also been refused security clearance while SR Cable TV of Bangalore has shut down its business.

The MIB has granted provisional registration to DEN Networks’ Nashik subsidiary DEN Discovery Digital Network for Maharashtra.

On the other hand, Extreme Teleconnect has received pan-India licence. Other MSOs that were granted provisional licences for various districts are: Hindupur Cable TV Operators Welfare Association, RK Digital Cable Service, Srisivakami Amman Cable TV System, Shri Shyam Baba Cable Network, Raj Cable Network, Lonar Cable Network, Srivi Communication, Matarani Cable TV Network, Kulasekharam Television Network, Victoy Digital Network, Jajpur Digital Network Services and Treeshakti Cable Network.

The pace appears particularly sluggish considering that the Home Ministry had announced over five months ago that it was aiming to do away with security clearances for MSOs.

MIB sources told that nothing had been received in writing in this regard from the Home Ministry.  

The number of MSOs was 553 by 24 November, having risen from 470 earlier in November, but this increase was merely in those who had provisional licences.

Considering the warning to broadcasters not to give digital signals to unregistered MSOs, the completion of DAS in urban areas by the end of this month appears to be a mammoth task.

The number of provisional licences has also slowed down, considering it had risen from 246 on 10 November to 323 by 24 November (an increase of 77) and has now risen by eleven to 337.

Only three MSOs who had provisional licences have got permanent licence since September this year. Three provisional licensees have been permitted to change their area of operation. Thirteen permanent licensees have been allowed over the past few months to change their areas, of which one has been allowed to add more areas.

The source said many MSOs holding provisional licences had not completed certain formalities relating to shareholders and so on.

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