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MIB agreeable to allow fresh FM channels to operate from interim set-up

A meeting held in Delhi on April 27, 2016 between representatives of various private FM radio players and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) took up the matter of giving permission to FM radio players to operate from an interim set-up till the time the Common Transmission Infrastructure (CTI) becomes operational.

Mihir Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, MIB, who chaired the meeting, stated that requests have been received from four FM radio operators – ENIL, HT Media, RBNL, and Music Broadcast Ltd (MBL) – for allowing them to operationalise their fresh FM radio channels from interim set-up till the CTI facility is prepared by BECIL. The representatives of the companies were informed that the MIB is cautious in the matter as the operators in Chennai who were earlier given interim set-up permission are yet to shift to the CTI facility at Avadi.

The Joint Secretary emphasised that since time is money spectrum sold is still unutilised, early operationalisation of channels will benefit all stakeholders, including the Ministry, as annual fee realisation will also start early and, therefore, the Ministry is agreeable to allowing interim set-up subject to the following conditions:

  • That it should be in the same premises from where regular CTI is operating;
  • Payments to Prasar Bharati and BECIL should be made in full as per their mutual consent.

George Kuruvilla, CMD, BECIL, stated that since the interim set-up will be in the same premises for which, SACFA clearance is available, BECIL will inform the WPC on the interim set-up on behalf of the operators.

When asked about BECIL’s timelines to complete the CTI facilities, Kuruvilla said that though the target dates for all the cities is September 2016, BECIL would be able to complete CTI facilities for new FM channels in some cities in July-August. BECIL agreed to provide city-wise timelines.

AN Sharma, GM – Commercial, AIR Resources, informed that only single dipole, 7/8 inch cable with 3 KW transmitter could be allowed for interim set-up. The range of transmission will be 15-20 km. Operators are need to arrange for their power supply as PB will not be able to provide additional power required for the interim set-up. Also, the operation of the interim set-up should not pose hurdles for the regular CTI facilities being created for new FM channels.

The FM operators will be submitting their views on the matter in a week’s time. May 6, 2016 has been set as the date for the next meeting to review the progress in the matter.

Present at the meeting were:
Mihir Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, MIB
SR Yadav, DS (FM), MIB
Yogendra Trihan, DD (FM), MIB

Prasar Bharati – Sukanya Sengupta (ADG – E), AN Sharma, Chandrika Prasad (DGM – A&C, AIR Resources)

BECIL – George Kuruvilla, RR Prasad

Vikas Garg, DB Corp
Sidharth Verma, DB Corp
Ved Prakash Gupta, MBL
Shahid Ali, RBNL
Mohammad Tahir, RBNL
Sreekumar, Mathrubhumi
Mahesh Shetty, ENIL
Ravi Narula, ENIL
Naresh Dhawan, ENIL

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