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MIB issues letter of intent for FM radio broadcasters

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has issued letter of intent (LoI) agreements to be signed by new and existing FM radio broadcasters with Prasar Bharati for the allocation and operation of radio channels.

As per the notice inviting applications (NIA), once the auctions were completed, the next stage would be the grant stage where payment of the winning bid amount and issuance of LoI are subject to fulfilment of relevant conditions. The LoI is valid for a period of 15 years.

The agreement states that as per the FM Phase III policy, the radio operator is required to co-locate its FM radio transmission facilities with the existing infrastructure facilities of Prasar Bharati at certain specified AIR/Doordarshan stations.

All the radio operators holding the FM broadcast licence for specific cities are required to set up their common transmission infrastructure (CTI) by using the infrastructure of Prasar Bharati. The policy further states that the licensees will have a choice to form a consortium and set up the required CTI for that city.

Accordingly, the FM radio operators have requested Prasar Bharati to grant permission to use its infrastructure facilities like open space (land), closed space (building), tower aperture and other such facilities.

To use the infrastructure, the radio operators will need to pay a licence fee on an annual basis. For example, the annual licence fee for the Pitampura tower aperture will be Rs 34.4 lakh per broadcaster.

The annual licence fee for open and covered space will be Rs 11,028 per sq meter for open space and Rs 12,240 per sq meter for covered space.

Meanwhile, the annual licence fee for other miscellaneous common facilities would be Rs 5 lakh for A+ cities per broadcaster.

The licence fee will be increased by 5 per cent every year on the last licence fee paid.

While creating CTI, the radio operators will need to keep the provision of meeting the future requirements of Prasar Bharati for increasing the power of its FM transmitter and/or adding a new channel/transmitter using CTI chain at no cost to the licensor, including the initial and recurring costs.