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Govt might open up terrestrial networks for private broadcasters

MUMBAI: Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that the government might consider opening up the analogue terrestrial network for private broadcasters.

prakash-javdekar-mainResponding to questions in the Lok Sabha, the minister said that Doordarshan was digitising its analogue terrestrial network. Currently, the terrestrial networks are the sole domain of the public broadcaster.

“Consequently, the number of digitised channels would go up. DD would thereafter be in a position to invite private free-to-air TV channels for meaningful business plan in this regard,” newswire PTI quotes Javadekar as saying.

The Sam Pitroda Committee on Prasar Bharati had recommended making direct-to-home (DTH) signals the primary mode of transmitting content for Doordarshan and to discontinue terrestrial analogue transmission.

The committee had also suggested that Doordarshan must expand its satellite and digital cable TV operations.

The switch from terrestrial to satellite transmission will result in considerable cost saving, even as it offers the possibility of a wider content variety in comparison with the limited number of channels available through terrestrial broadcasts, the report had said.

Replying to questions on TV channel licences, the minister said that a total of 795 television channels have been granted permission by the ministry to uplink from the country.

As many as 235 applications were still pending for inter-ministerial clearances, Javadekar said in the Lok Sabha.

He also said that the government had received 200 applications in the last three years. About 105 applications were received for Malayalam- and Kannada-language channels.

On the issue of launching a TV channel for farmers, Javadekar said, “No definite timeframe can be fixed as of now as the start of the channel will depend on the availability of resources and manpower after the details have been worked out.”