Regulators

Uplink, downlink issue: TRAI pushes for a liberal regime keeping most existing norms unchanged

No auctioning of TV channels ; Various annual permission fees hiked

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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today stuck with most of the existing guidelines and norms for uplink and downlink permissions for TV channel and teleports, refusing to recommend auction of TV channels --- flagged as a contentious issue by stakeholders. However, it suggested enhancing of annual permission fees from the present levels, amongst some other changes.

The TRAI recommendations on uplink and downlink of TV channels and teleports had been awaited eagerly by the industry, already reeling under pressures from various sides, including economic.

The regulator also said that mandating encryption of broadcast of FTA TV channels was not a good idea, while suggesting that various processes for various government clearances should be streamlines done within stipulated time-frame.

Some of the major recommendations of the TRAI are as follows:

Issues related to uplinking and downlinking of satellite TV channels

i) No change in the existing definitions of ‘News and Current Affairs TV channels’, and ‘Non-News and CurrentAffairs TV channels' mentioned in   the   existing uplinking and downlinking guidelines dated 05.12.2011.

ii) No change in the amount of minimum net-worth of an applicant company seeking permissions for uplinking anddownlinking of TV channels.

iii) Auction not feasible for grant of permissions for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels.

iv) Existing administrative system for grant of permissions for uplinking and downlinking of TV channelsshould be continued and should be streamlined.

v) TRAI reiterated its recommendations on “Ease of Doing Business in Broadcasting Sector” dated 26th February 2018 sent to the Government wherein several measures have been recommended for streamlining the existingprocess of granting permissions for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels.

vi) No change in the permission fee and entry fee for uplinking and downlinking permissions.

vii) Annual license fee for uplinking anddownlinking permissions should be enhanced as follows:

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viii) Encryption of broadcast of FTA channels should not be mandated and it should be left to the broadcasters providingFTA channels.

ix) Transfer of permissions should not be permitted between two different companies. In case of mergerand acquisition as recognized under the Companies Act, 20 13 or any other applicable law(s), transfer of permissionsshould be permitted after following the   due process. Transfer of permission of TV channels to its subsidiarycompany or holding company or subsidiary company of the holding company should be allowed freely, provided such company has a valid uplinking and downlinking permission.

x)A lock-in period of one year from the date of operationalization of a channel for the transfer of permission of such channel.

B. Issues related to Teleports

i) No change in the amount of onetime non-refundable processing fee levied for seeking permission for establishing a teleport.

ii) No Entry fee for granting permission for establishing teleport.

iii) For each antenna a fixed annual license fee of Rs 3 lakh should be charged.

iv) No need to restrict the number of teleports in India.

v) Location of teleports should be left to the teleport operators subject to site clearance from WPC wing of DoT.

Also Read:

TRAI extends dates for comments on uplinking/downlinking consultation paper

TV channels' uplinking / downlinking procedure simplified

MIB reminds TV channels, teleport ops about timely online payments

MIB bumps up TV channel processing fee

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