TRAI Recommendations on “Renewal of Multi-System Operators (MSOs) Registration”

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recently issued its recommendations on the “Renewal of Multi-System Operators (MSOs) Registration”. Currently, the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 does not have provisions for the renewal of the MSO registrations.

What are the salient features of the TRAI recommendations?

  • The renewal of the MSO registration must be for a period of 10 years.
  • The processing fee for the renewal of MSO registration should be kept as Rs.1 lakh.
  • The window for applying for renewed registration must not be opened before 7 months from the date of expiry and not later than 2 months prior to the date of expiry.
  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting must maintain a list of the MSOs with due date of expiry on its website starting from the latest due date. The ministry is required to send an automated communication as a remainder of the expiry date at least 7 months before the date of the expiry.
  • If an MSO applied for the renewal within two months of expiry, the ministry may decide whether or not to entertain such applications.
  • The ministry should not consider applications for renewal on or after the date of expiry of the existing registration
  • Registrations that are about to expire within the next 8 months from the date of implementation of the MIB, the MSO registrations should be deemed to expire after 8 months from the date of implementation of rules or guidelines for renewal.
  • The list of MSOs whose applications are currently pending for renewal must be made available on a portal that can be accessed by the public.
  • In case the decision to renew the MSO is pending, that MSO must receive deemed provisional extension until the final decision.
  • Appropriate amendments must be made to the extant guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of television channels so that the broadcasters do not provide signals to those MSOs whose registration has expired.
  • The application process for the renewal of MSO registration must be made end-to-end online. Facility must be put in place so that all documents can be uploaded in digital mode via the Broadcast Seva Portal.

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