India Today

Ease of doing business focus of govt’s new guidelines for broadcasters

The Centre has come up with a new set of guidelines aimed at increasing the ease of doing business. Television channels using Kurtz-under (Ku) and Kurtz-above (Ka) bands on satellite frequencies from now on need to be encrypted, said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting while unveiling its new uplinking and downlinking guidelines on Wednesday.

The Ku-band uses frequencies in the 12 to 18 GHz range, while Ka-band uses frequencies in the 26.5 to 40 GHz range. The higher frequency in a Ka-band system enables a higher data transfer rate.

The ministry came up with consolidated guidelines to ease the issue of permits to companies/ Limited Liability Partnerships registered in India for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels, setting up of teleports/ teleport hubs, digital satellite news gathering (DSNG), satellite news gathering (SNG), electronic news gathering (ENG) systems and uplinking by Indian news agencies and temporary uplinking of a live event.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting secretary Apurva Chandra said that the new guidelines will ease compliance for permit holders. “The new guidelines have been amended after a gap of 11 years, and a number of steps have been taken for ease of doing business of the journals because there are more than 870 channels which are now operating in the country,” the officer said.

It has also been simplified and rationalised. The guidelines have been framed to enhance the ease of doing business.

According to new guidelines, there is no requirement for seeking permission for the live telecast of events and only registration of events would be necessary. There would also be no requirement of permission for a change of language or conversion from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD), or vice-versa.

There would be specific timelines proposed for a grant of permission for a licence and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) entities can also seek permission.

A news agency can get permission for five years instead of one year and a channel can be uplinked by using the facilities of more than one teleport/satellite, as against only one teleport/satellite.

Certain restrictions on the transfer of a channel from one entity to another have been removed and now, a teleport operator can uplink a foreign channel to be downlinked outside India, enabling the earning of foreign exchange for the operator.

Teleports are the channels by which satellites can be integrated into complex networks involving fibre, microwave, wireless, and mobile technologies to expand their reach beyond the edge of the network, broadcast one-to-many, or feed bandwidth-hungry applications.

“The structure of the guidelines has been systematized to avoid duplication and common parameters, including financial requirements and others,” said Joint Secretary Sanjiv Shankar.

The officer also stated that the penalty clauses have been rationalized. He also stated that TV channels uplinking on a frequency band other than the C-band are mandatorily required to encrypt their signals.

Further, the net worth requirement for companies or LLPs holding permissions would be as per the guidelines at the time of renewals. Over this, the I&B secretary said, “We have tried to bring everyone on a level playing field.” He also stated that provisions of security deposits to ensure payment of dues have also been introduced.

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