Broadband India Welcomes TRAI Recommendations on Up- & Down-linking TV Channels

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Broadband India Forum (BIF), an independent policy forum & think-tank welcomed the TRAI recommendations for regulating the business of satellite TV channel broadcasting in India. The recommendations primarily focus on permission for up-linking and downlinking of satellite TV channels, and for setting up of teleports.

To this end, six specific suggestions stand out: (i) No Auction for UL & DL of TV Channels and for Satellite Spectrum, (ii) Continuation of Administrative mechanism for grant of permission of UL & DL of TV Channels; (iii) No imposition of entry fee on satellite TV channels; (iv) No introduction of “Adjusted Gross Revenue” (“AGR”) sharing based license fee; (v) Introduction of definite timelines for completion of all processes related to grant of permission(s) to broadcasters and teleport operators; and (vi)  Choice of Location of Teleports to be left to the Teleport Operators.

Mr. T.V. Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum said, “We laud the recommendations by TRAI on granting of permission to the Indian satellite TV broadcasting industry for Up-linking & Downlinking of TV Channels. The central premise in the recommendations is the focus on liberalization and continuity with the existing guidelines with emphasis on simplification of procedures by removing artificial barriers which are impeding the growth of the industry to ensure profitable growth and permit entry of smaller players.  We expect that these inputs by TRAI will find favour with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and once approved and accepted, will go a long way in providing the industry with the impetus it needs to continue driving socio-cultural besides economic development of the country.”

The recommendations came in the light of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) seeking the Regulator’s permission to revise some of the provisions of its previous guidelines issued in 2011 on issues relating to Up-linking and Downlinking of Television Channels.

TRAI recognized that the existing administrative system for grant of permissions for up-linking and downlinking of TV channels should be continued as auction process for grant of permissions for up-linking and downlinking of TV channels is not feasible. In light of the same, the Authority has called for the process of granting permission for up-linking of satellite TV channels from India to be further streamlined by removing redundant processes, re-engineer necessary processes, and making them efficient using ICT.

With respect to teleports, TRAI has observed that during the early years of satellite TV in India, in the early 1990s, broadcasters uplinked their content from abroad. It was the desire of the government to bring the up-linking to India and also to make India as a ‘Teleport Hub’. Now most of the Indian channels are being uplinked from India. To encourage the Broadcasters to continue up-linking of their channels from India, these services / facilities have to be competitive globally, both in terms of cost and quality. Therefore, it has recommended permitting Teleport operators the choice of locating of teleports provided they are globally competitive.