TRAI begins consultative process for migration to Phase III of FM broadcasting

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) this week opened up consultations on the modalities for migration of existing FM radio broadcasters to Phase III of FM broadcasting. The consultation paper on Migration of FM Radio Broadcasters from Phase-II to Phase-III was issued on Tuesday after the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting reiterated twice last month that migration to Phase-III would not be possible until the migration fee and the date of migration is decided in consultation with TRAI.

Two letters to this effect were sent by Jitendra Shankar Mathur, I&B Ministry Additional Secretary, to TRAI; first on November 5 and then again on November 19. In its consultation paper, TRAI has asked stakeholders for their views on two specific issues: date of migration from Phase II to Phase III and whether they agree that the period of permission to operate should be 15 years from the date of migration. Also, their views have been sought on the methodology for charging migration fee.

As per the guidelines for Phase-III of FM Radio Broadcasting — issued on July 25, 2011 — all cities with a population of more than one lakh can now have an FM radio station. In this phase, an additional 839 channels across 294 cities have been made available for auction. Currently, 242 FM channels operate in 85 cities. These are run by 37 firms and include the 21 channels which migrated from Phase-I to Phase-II.

A significant change in the policy for Phase III pertains to FM channels carrying news and current affairs programmes. In Phase III, FM channels will be allowed to carry news bulletins of All India Radio in an unaltered format besides current affairs of local nature. The Foreign Direct Investment limit has also been raised from 20 to 26 per cent.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 10:59:29 AM |

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