RadioandMusic
| 18 Jun 2018
Open House Discussion next month on ease of doing broadcasting business

NEW DELHI: An Open House Discussion is to be held next month on ways to find out easier ways of doing broadcast business and cause least harassment to entrepreneurs.

With the fast changing regulatory framework for the media and entertainment sector which in India is one of the fastest growing sectors, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had embarked on a major exercise in this regard and issued a pre-consultation paper in April this year later followed up by a consultation paper on 31 July 2017.

The discussion is being held in the capital on 1 November 2017.

The pre-consultation paper had come out just a few months after a similar paper on telecom and in the new era of convergence, the two sectors are expected to complement each other.

TRAI, which had raised questions about all sectors in the electronic media, had on its own decided to go in first for a pre-consultation and then a consultation paper with the stakeholders on ease of doing business in the broadcasting sector. Responses to the paper, which poses around eighteen questions to stakeholders, have to be sent by 28 August with counter-comments if any by 11 September 2017.

The economic liberalization measures initiated in the early 1990s had focused on reduction of regulatory burden on enterprises as an underlying objective of the reform process. The Government has launched an ambitious programme of regulatory reforms aimed at making it easier to do business in India. The programme aims to pinpoint the bottlenecks and ease them to create a more business-friendly environment. The efforts have yielded some results with India ranked at 130 according to the World Banks’ Doing Business report. But there is still huge scope for further improvements.

TRAI notes that the IMF has branded India as the brightest spot in the Global Economy. Several Global Institutions have projected India as the leading destination for FDI in the World and a number of recent global reports and assessments, show that India has considerably improved its policies, practices and economic profile. It is expected that enabling policies and determination to continue with economic reforms, various initiatives taken by the government such as Make in India, Smart City Mission, Skill India Mission, Digital India, etc. would further spur the growth of the economy.

The pre-consultation paper on the ease of doing business in broadcasting which covered all media came just a few months after a similar paper on telecom. In the new era of convergence, the two sectors are expected to complement each other.

The aim is also to remove entry barriers by laying down well defined and transparent procedures and processes thereby creating level playing field and competition in the sector and to facilitate innovation and technology adoption for providing better quality of services to the consumers to steer further growth of the sector by attracting investment through investor friendly policies 

Subjects to be covered are related to processes and procedures for obtaining permission/license/registration for the following broadcasting services and subsequent compliances connected with these permissions.

The fields include:

(a) Uplinking of TV channels 
(b) Downlinking of TV channels 
(c) Teleport services 
(d) Direct-to-home services 
(e) Private FM services 
(f) Headend-in-the sky services 
(g) Local Cable Operators 
(h) Multi System Operators 
(i) Community Radio Stations 

The questions raised are:

1.  Is there a need for simplification of policy framework to boost growth of satellite TV industry? If yes, what changes do you suggest in present policy framework relating to satellite TV channels and why? 

2.  Is there a need in present policy framework relating to seeking permission for making changes in the name, logo, language, format, etc. related to an operational satellite TV channel? If so, what changes do you suggest and why?  Is there a need for simplification of policy framework to boost growth of satellite TV industry? If yes, what changes do you suggest in present policy framework relating to satellite TV channels and why? 

3.  Do you agree with some of the stakeholders comments at the pre-consultation stage that Annual Renewal Process of TV channels needs simplification?

4. Do you agree with stakeholders’ comments that coordination with multiple agencies/ Government departments related to starting and operating of a TV channel can be simplified? If so, what should be the mechanism and framework for such single window system?

5. Is present framework of seeking permission for temporary uplinking of live coverage of events of national importance including sports events is complicated and restrictive? If yes, what changes do you suggest and why?

6. Do you feel the need to simplify policy framework for seeking permission/license for starting and running of following services:  

(iii) Teleport services

(iv) DTH service

7. As per your understanding, why open sky policy for Ku band has not been adopted when it is permitted for ‘C’ band? What changes do you suggest to simplify hiring of Ku band transponders for provision of DTH/HITS services? 

8. What are the operational issues and bottlenecks in the current policy framework related to:

(iii) Teleport services

(iv) DTH service

How these issues can be simplified and expedited?  

9. What are the specific issues affecting ease of doing business in cable TV sector? What modifications are required to be made in the extant framework to address these issues?

10. Is there a need to increase validity of LCO registration from one year? In your view, what should be the validity of LCO registration?  

11. What are the issues in the extant policy guidelines that are affecting the ease of doing business in FM sector? What changes and modifications are required to address these issues?

12. Is there a need to streamline the process of assignment of frequency by WPC and clearances from NOCC to enhance ease of doing business? What changes do you suggest and why?

13. What are the reasons for delay for allocation of frequencies by WPC? What changes do you suggest to streamline the process?

14. What are the key issues affecting the indigenous manufacturing of various broadcasting equipments and systems. How these issues can be addressed?

15. Is there any other issue which will be relevant to ease of doing business in broadcasting sector?

16. Are there any issues in conducting trial projects to assess suitability of a new technology in broadcasting sector?  

17. What should the policy framework and process for consideration and approval of such trial projects?