Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Govt prepares satellite radio guidelines

India will soon have a satellite radio policy. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has framed the draft satellite radio policy guidelines based on the Trai recommendations, Minister of State for I&B CM Jatua told Parliament today.

Companies wanting to provide satellite radio service in India and setting up network and infrastructure will be eligible to get permission, subject to certain conditions. The government will issue licences to those willing to start satellite radio service in India.

The draft policy also provides for permitting companies to seek registration of radio channels to be carried on such service.

Jatua also clarified that the draft policy provides for eligibility conditions, licence fee, foreign investment norms and other regulatory provisions.

The Ministry had in June 2008 accepted the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's final recommendations, with some modifications. The sector regulator had recommended a 74 per cent FDI on satellite radio. Currently, satellite radio operator WorldSpace has a 100 per cent foreign holding.

Among the various recommendations submitted by Trai, the Ministry has also accepted the government's proposal in the draft policy on restrictions on news and advertisements in satellite radio service.

Satellite radio service refers to the distribution of single or multi channel radio programmes by using a satellite system which provides encrypted digital radio signals direct to the subscriber's receiver sets.

- Jaisakthivel, Chennai, India

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