MIB to grant DAS licence to MSOs without MHA clearance

MUMBAI: With 100+ applications pending before it, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) will soon start granting digital addressable system (DAS) licences to multi system operators (MSO) without the security clearance from the ministry of home affairs (MHA).

The MIB has not granted any new DAS licences in over a year. The Delhi High Court had passed an order in August 2018 directing MIB to process Sharma Cable Network’s application expeditiously.

Sharma Cable Network had moved Delhi HC seeking directions for the MIB to process its DAS licence immediately. The company’s application was kept on hold as the MIB was re-examining the MSO licence policy/guidelines.

While issuing directions to the MIB, the Delhi HC had also stated that the ministry can re-examine the policy of granting MSO licence.

Union of India counsel Anurag Ahluwalia had stated that there are four major issues that were being considered. Three of them have been resolved and the resolution of the remaining issue is pending resolution awaiting inputs from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). He had stated that the process would be completed shortly.

“Earlier, permission to these MSOs was put on hold after it was made mandatory for MSOs to get security clearance from the MHA. On a writ petition from Sharma Cable Network, the HC passed an order on August 21, 2017, asking the ministry to issue the required permission. It is likely that the MIB will move on all applications now,” Hindustan Times quoted an official as saying.

In August, the ministry had stated that it is re-examining the policy hence, further action on the pending applications shall be taken once the process is completed. In response to an RTI query, the ministry had also stated that it had received 91 DAS applications.

In March 2017, the ministry had done away with the practice of issuing provisional registrations. It had further stated all provisional registrations unless cancelled or suspended will henceforth be treated as regular registrations for a period of 10 years.

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

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