The Information & Broadcasting Ministry has notified amendments in the Cable Television Network Rules introducing a procedure for renewal of Multi System Operators (MSOs). It has also introduced provisions for sharing of infrastructure of cable operators with broadband service providers to promote internet penetration to the last mile.
MSOs receive programming service from the broadcaster and re-transmits the same to the consumer, either directly or through one or more LCOs. As of March 2022, there are 1762 MSOs registered with the I&B Ministry. So far, the Cable Television Network Rules had provisions for fresh registration of MSOs for a period of ten years. However, there was no provision for an extension or a renewal, implying that at the end of the 10-year period of validity, the registration expired. It also did not recognise mandatory filing of online applications.
As per the latest amendments in the rules, MSOs will apply for renewal of registration online at the Broadcast Seval portal of I&B Ministry. “MSO registrations shall be granted or renewed for a period of ten years; The processing fee of Rs. One lakh is kept for the renewal of registration. The application for renewal of registration shall be within a window of seven to two months before the expiry of the registration,” the Ministry said in an official statement. These amendments are in line with the recent recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
“The renewal procedure is in line with the Government’s commitment to ease of doing business as it will provide certainty to cable operators to continue their services without interruption and therefore make the sector attractive for foreign investment,” the Ministry stated.
MSOs whose registration is expiring within 7 months are required to apply online through the BroadcastSeva Portal, it added.
“The inclusion of a provision related to the sharing of infrastructure by Cable Operators with broadband service providers will provide the twin benefit of enhanced internet penetration and efficient utilisation of resources. It will also reduce the need for additional infrastructure for broadband services,” the Ministry added. The Hindu Businessline