New Up-linking & down-linking policy for TV channels

There are several types of information transmission paths provided by communication satellites to connect two points on earth for the purpose of telecommunication. The Uplink part is used for transmission of signals from an Earth terminal to a satellite or to an airborne platform. A downlink (DL) is the link from a satellite to a ground station. Further, a forward link is the link from a fixed location (e.g., a base station) to a mobile user. If the link includes a communications relay satellite, the forward link will consist of both an uplink (base station to satellite) and a downlink (satellite to mobile user). A reverse link or Return channel is the link from a mobile user to a fixed base station.If the link includes a communications relay satellite, the reverse link will consist of both an uplink (mobile station to satellite) and a downlink (satellite to base station) which together constitute a half hop.

Those who wish to run TV channels in India are needed to seek Government permission from Ministry of Telecom and come under its regulations. The Government of India gives the permission and regulates the private satellite TV channels in India for uplinking and downlinking via two sets of guidelines as follows:

  • While regulation of foreign TV channels uplinked from abroad and distributed in India for public viewing is governed by “Policy Guidelines for Downlinking of Television channels” notified on 11th Nov 2005.
  • Private TV channels which are uplinked from India are governed by “Guidelines for Uplinking from India” notified on 2nd December 2005.

Recently, the Government has revised the up-linking and down-linking policy of TV channels with an idea to discourage non-serious appliers. The basic determination of the Government was to augment the net worth criterion for those looking for consent to run TV channels in India.

  • As per the proposal, the net worth criterion for up-linking of non-news and non current affairs channels and down-linking of foreign channels has been revised from ` 1.5 Crore to ` 5 Crore rupees for the first channel.
  • An additional net worth of ` 2.5 Crore to be shown by Companies for each added channel.
  • The net worth has been augmented from ` 3 Crore to ` 20 Crore for up-linking of `News and Current Affairs` channels for the first channel and Rs 5 Crore for each subsequent channel.
  • Obligatory for each television channel to make their TV Channels functional within a time frame of 1 year from the date of consent. The time period of consent and registration for up-linking and down-linking of channels will 10 years.

Implications:

  • The amendments in the existing policy would bring significant changes in the eligibility criteria of companies seeking to operate TV channels in India in order to ensure that only serious and credible operators are permitted to operate such channels and the electronic media landscape is not unnecessarily crowded by non-serious players.

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