MIB allows registered MSOs to operate across India on existing licence

MUMBAI: In a major move, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has allowed registered multi-system operators (MSOs) to operate from anywhere in India irrespective of the area for which the registration has been permitted.

Till now, the registered MSOs could only operate in areas for which they have been granted registrations.

The ministry grants permanent and provisional registrations to MSOs either for digital addressable system (DAS) Phase I, II, III and IV areas or pan-India.

For DAS Phases III and IV, the ministry has been granting only provisional registrations as the process of granting permanent registration was consuming a lot of time due to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) delay in granting security clearance.

With this decision, the MSOs will not have to seek the MIB’s approval if they want to expand their areas of operations. Earlier, MSOs had to make a fresh application to the ministry to modify their areas of operation.

“This is regarding grant of registration to MSOs for operation in DAS notified areas. MIB had been granting MSO registration for specific DAS notified areas, city, town, state, or on pan-India basis as requested by the applicant MSOs. Now, it has been decided that the all registered MSOs are free to operate in any parts of the country, irrespective of registration for specified DAS notified area(s) granted by the MIB,” MIB said in a circular issued by undersecretary to the government Anil Kumar.

The circular further added that if any registered MSO has operationalised the service in any DAS-notified area(s), in any part of the country, it would be treated as having been implemented the service on his part irrespective of the number of the set-top boxes (STBs) installed by him.

However, the registered MSO has to submit the details of the headend, subscriber management system (SMS), subscribers list and a self-certificate that he is carrying all the mandatory DD channels, within six months from date of issuance of MSO registration, to the MIB, failing which the MSO registration is liable to cancelled/suspended, the ministry stated.

As on 4 January, the MIB has issued 905 provisional registrations including the MSOs who have obtained stay orders against the ministry’s cancellation of licences.

The number of permanent registrations in the country now stands at 229. There are 44 MSOs whose licences have either been cancelled or registration closed.