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Provisional MSO licences to be treated as regular, says MIB

MUMBAI: Multi-system operators (MSOs) will not mind getting provisional licences from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) as they will be treated as regular registrations for a period of 10 years.

The MIB has stated that all provisional licences, unless cancelled or suspended, will henceforth be treated as regular registrations for a period of 10 years.

With this move, the ministry has removed the distinction between provisional and permanent or regular registrations.

Permanent registrations are valid for a period of 10 years and require security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), while provisional registrations are issued on a temporary basis subject to security clearance from the MHA.

“It has been decided by the competent authority that all valid provisional MSO registrations, unless cancelled/suspended subsequently, may be treated as deemed regular registrations for a period of 10 years from the date of issuance of respective provisional registration,” the MIB said in an official memorandum today.

The MIB, however, added that registration could be cancelled if any MSO is found detrimental to the security of the country. All other terms and conditions stated in the provisional registration letters will continue to apply.

The memorandum follows the ministry’s recent circular dated 27 January wherein it had allowed all registered MSOs to operate freely in any part of the country, irrespective of registration for specified DAS areas granted by the ministry.

However, the MSOs have to submit, within six months from date of issuance of MSO registration, the details of the headend, SMS, subscriber list and a self-certificate that they are carrying all the mandatory TV channels, failing which the MSO registration will be liable for cancellation/suspension.

Hence, all deemed regular registered MSOs are also required to submit the details to the MIB within six months, the MIB had stated.

As on 28 February, the MIB had issued 952 provisional and 230 permanent registrations. The registrations of 41 MSOs have either been cancelled or the registration has been closed.

The MIB has been issuing provisional registrations since June 2015, because issuing permanent registration was consuming a lot of time as it required security clearance from the MHA. Due to the large number of MSO applications, the MHA was finding it difficult to clear these applications quickly. As the deadline for Phase III and IV was looming large, the MIB had decided to move to issuing provisional registration since it does not require security clearance.