The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended that the renewal of registration of multi-system operators of satellite television should be done for a 10-year period and the processing fee to be kept at rupees one lakh.
The regulator made a host of other recommendations for the renewal of multi-system operators (MSOs) registration after consultations with stakeholders.
The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had asked for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) recommendations since the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, did not have a provision for the renewal of MSO registrations, the regulator said in a statement.
"The authority recommends that all such registrations, which have either expired or (are) about to expire within the next eight months from the date of implementation of (the) decision of MIB with respect to the renewal of the MSOs registration, should be deemed to expire after eight months from the date of implementation of the rules/guidelines for renewal," it said.
The regulator recommended that the application process for the renewal "shall be" made end-to-end online with the facility to upload all documents in digital mode via the Broadcast Seva Portal single-point facility.
A list of all the MSOs whose applications are pending with the ministry for renewal should be made available on the portal in the public domain, it said.
"Further, if an application by an MSO is under consideration or pending for decision, such MSO should get deemed provisional extension till a final decision," the regulator added.
TRAI also recommended that extant guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of television channels be also "appropriately" amended to ensure that the broadcasters did not provide signals to such MSOs whose registrations had expired.
The ministry should publish the list of such MSOs that have yet to apply for renewal within the prescribed time period with their due date of expiry on its website, TRAI said.
"Window for applying for renewal of registrations should open not earlier than seven months from the date of expiry and not later than two months prior to the date of expiry. The MIB should maintain the list of MSOs with a due date of expiry on its website starting from the latest due date," the regulator said.
"An automated communication, as a reminder of the due date of expiry, should be sent by the MIB at least seven months prior to the date of expiry to the respective MSOs," it added.
In case an applicant applies within two months of impending expiry, the ministry may decide whether to entertain such applications for renewal by considering the cause behind the delay, the regular recommended.
No application for renewal may be entertained if made on or after the date of expiry of the existing registration, it added.
"Every renewal application shall be referred to the authority to confirm compliance with extant rules and regulations. The authority will provide explicit instances of non-compliance, if such is the case, within 15 days of online referral," the regulator said.
For transparency and clarity, TRAI will release a detailed circular containing the specifics of the review process and the grounds of such review on its website.
"If the Authority does not respond within 15 days of such referral, then the compliance from the regulator may be considered as deemed confirmation," it added.