| 17 Jun 2024
Third Phase of FM to commence within this fiscal year, frequency may be halved from 800 KHz

NEW DELHI: The e-auction for 839 FM channels in 294 cities is expected to commence before the end of the present fiscal but will continue over the next three years.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources told that the e-auction, on the lines followed by Department of Telecommunication in the auction for 3G & BWA spectrum.

At present, 243 Private FM radio channels are operational under the existing Phase-II Policy and the next phase will cover all cities with over one lakh population. Currently, just 86 cities are covered by FM, the sources said.   

The decision relating to Phase III was taken by the Cabinet on 7 July 2011. Later the Empowered Committee in March last year decided to charge fee for migration to existing operators who wanted to move to Phase III.

The Government has already appointed an e-auctioneer and also an external monitor to ensure probity.

Additional channels may become available due to the reduced channel spacing to 400 KHz – as recommended earlier this year by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India - after feasibility studies are completed in consultation with competent technical authorities. Presently, the inter-channel (frequency) for FM is 800 KHz.