Delhi, 23 December 2020: The Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has agreed on a proposal to revise the Direct-To-Home (DTH) licensing guidelines in India. The main characteristics of the decision are:
- License for the DTH will be issued for a period of 20 years in place of the present 10 years. Further the period of License may be renewed by 10 years at a time.
- The license fee has been revised from 10% of GR to 8% of AGR. AGR will be calculated by deduction of GST from GR.
- License Fee will be collected on a quarterly basis in lieu of the present annual basis.
- DTH operators shall be permitted to operate to a maximum of 5% of its total channel carrying capacity as permitted platform channels. A one-time non-refundable registration fee of Rs.10,000 per PS channel shall be charged from a DTH operator.
- Sharing of Infrastructure between DTH operators. DTH operators, willing to share the DTH platform and transport stream of TV channels, on a voluntary basis, will be allowed. Distributors of TV channels will be permitted to share the common hardware for their Subscriber Management System (SMS) and Conditional Access System (CAS) applications.
- The cap of 49% FDl in the existing DTH guidelines will be aligned with the extant Government (DPIIT’s) policy on FDl as amended from time to time.
- The decision will come into effect as per revised DTH guidelines are issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The proposed reductions are designed to align the Telecommunications industry license fee regime which will be implemented in the future.
The difference may also encourage SRD service providers to invest in more coverage, thereby increasing operations and growth and enhancing and paying license fees on a regular basis. Platform Services’ registration fee would likely produce revenue of around Rs. 12 Lakhs.
The sharing of the infrastructure by the DTH operators will increase the efficiency and cost of using limited satellite resources. More foreign investment will be brought into the country with the implementation of FDI policy.
The DTH sector is a sector that is extremely work-intensive. It directly employs DTH operators and those in call centers, in addition to indirectly employing a significant number of grassroots installers.
The amending DTH guidelines would ensure a reasonable degree of stability and new investment in the DTH sector along with job opportunities, with a longer license duration and clarification on renewals, relaxed FDI limits, etc.