The Ministry of information and broadcasting has issued 27 new provisional and three permanent multi-system operator (MSO) licences since August across India to operate in the digital addressable system (DAS) areas.
The new permanent entrants are: Manthan Broadband Services, which got the permanent licence for Kolkata Metropolitan under Phase I, for Howrah under Phase II and for Ranchi and all cities/towns in India under Phase III, Saptak Digital, which received permanent licence for the entire West Bengal region, and Shirdi Sai Digital Network for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana under Phase III & IV.
An MSO basically operates multiple cable or direct broadcast satellite TV systems. In May, the MIB added new members to its task force for DAS Phase III and IV. The task force was set up to act as an interface between the government and the industry with respect to DAS implementation in the cable TV sector, analyse digitisation roadblocks and suggest measures for the same.
Of these 399 MSOs that have received licences for DAS, 226 have 10-year licences, while 173 are provisional since the MIB has still not received any formal communication of the Home Ministry’s decision to do away with security clearances for MSOs.
In July, the ministry granted 60 Cable TV MSOs provisional licenses for a registration period of 10 years. The companies included were Reliance Jio, Madura Cables and Friends Cable Network.
Reliance Jio had applied for the license in January this year. Jio planned to use its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connectivity to offer its prospective customers a number of services, including TV, high speed internet, telephone and wireless connectivity.
In April, on demand TV player and interactive advertising platform Lukup Media said that it was looking to expand its over-the-top (OTT) services by acquiring multi-system operator (MSO) and internet service provider (ISP) licenses. These bundled services would let Lukup deliver OTT content with traditional TV and internet. For bundled services, Lukup would have 3 phases: phase one would cover Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, phase two Delhi NCR and Gujarat while phase three would include 47 cities with populations of over 1 million each. The service would be provided by Lukup Player through which users can simultaneously stream content on more than one digital device.
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