The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) earlier today officially issued the amendments to guidelines for obtaining a license for providing Direct to Home (DTH) services in India. While many of the amendments were highlighted in the Cabinet press conference earlier this month, the finer details of the amendments reveal a clause of reserving of operational channel capacity by DTH Operators.
The Ministry in its amended guidelines stated, “A vertically integrated entity will not reserve more than 15o/o 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.”
For the unversed vertically integrated entity are those wherein a company owns or controls the supply chain at different levels. The clause is aimed to offer enough capacity to other broadcasters who don’t have any vertical integration with DTH operators.
The advent of the New Tariff Order in 2019 had made DTH operators declare their channel carrying capacity from time to time along with spare channel capacity. TRAI had also inculcated a ‘Must-Carry’ clause to try and level the field and ensure proper allocation of spare channel capacity but the same is believed to have not made much of an impact with pretty much each distribution platform operator declaring nil spare channel capacity.