The Union Cabinet today approved the proposal for revision of the guidelines to obtain a Direct to Home (DTH) broadcasting license in India. DTH license from now on will be issued for a period of 20 years instead of the present 10 years timeframe which will renewed every 10 years.
The Cabinet has also revised the license fee charged from DTH operators from the existing 10 percent of Gross Revenue to 8 percent of AGR. AGR will be calculated by the deduction of GST from the Gross Revenue. The license fee will further be collected on a quarterly basis in lieu of presently annual basis.
DTH operators will further be allowed to operate a maximum of 5 percent of its total channel capacity as permitted platform channels with a one time non-refundable registration fee of Rs 10,000 per PS channel to be charged from a DTH operator.
The Cabinet has also allowed the sharing of infrastructure between DTH operators who are willing to share DTH platform and transport stream of TV channels on voluntary basis. The distributors of TV channels will be allowed to share the the common hardware for their Subscriber Management System (SMS) and Conditional Access System (CAS) applications.
“We are grateful to Shri Javadekar for resolving the long standing impasse on the DTH License policy which will provide certainty to the sector. We look forward to a level playing field via parity of Licence Fee with Cable TV which too is Licensed by MIB and follows the same prices and margins as regulated by TRAI’s NTO.”
Harit Nagpal, MD & CEO, Tata Sky
The Cabinet further has notified that the cap of 49% FDI in the existing DTH guidelines will be aligned with the extant DPIIT’s policy on FDI.
The reduction in license fee will align the license fee regime with the Telecom sector and will be prospectively applied. The difference could enable DTH service providers to invest for more coverage leading to increased operations and higher growth.
The registration fee for Platform Services is likely to bring a revenue of 12 lakhs while the sharing of infrastructure by the DTH operators may bring in more efficient use of scarce resources and potentially reduce the cost borne by customers. The adoption of the extant FDI policy will also bring in more foreign investment into the country.