The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued a notification amending the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, thereby introducing a procedure for the renewal of Multi-System Operator (MSO) registrations. In addition, an enabling provision has been inserted in the rules for the sharing of infrastructure by the cable operators with broadband service providers to promote internet penetration to the last mile.
The salient features of the amended rules for MSO registration are:
1. MSOs shall apply for the registration or renewal of registration online at the Broadcast Seva Portal of MIB.
2. MSO registrations shall be granted or renewed for a period of ten years.
3. The processing fee of Rs. 1 lakh is kept for the renewal of registration.
4. The application for renewal of registration shall be within a window of seven to two months before the expiry of the registration.
The renewal procedure is in line with the Government's commitment to ease of doing business as it will provide certainty to cable operators to continue their services without interruption and therefore make the sector attractive for foreign investment.
The MIB has further said that MSOs whose registration is expiring within 7 months are required to apply online through the Broadcast Seva Portal.
Earlier, only fresh MSO registrations were granted under the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. The rules did not specify the period of validity for MSO registrations, nor did they recognize the mandatory filing of online applications.
The inclusion of a provision related to the sharing of infrastructure by cable operators with broadband service providers will provide the twin benefit of enhanced internet penetration and efficient utilization of resources. It will also reduce the need for additional infrastructure for broadband services.