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10th November 2022 (7 Topics)

New Orders set guidelines for TV channels broadcasting scheme

Context

Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the new guidelines for the up-linking and downlinking of television channels in India.

About

What does Uplinking-downlinking mean?

  • In satellite telecommunication, a downlink is a link from a satellite down to one or more ground stations or receivers, and an uplink is a link from a ground station up to a satellite.
  • Some companies sell uplink and downlink services to television stations, corporations, and to other telecommunication carriers.
  • A company can specialize in providing uplinks, downlinks, or both.

Highlights of the Order:

  • It has been directed to all the Telecast stations holding permission would have to broadcast content on issues of national importance and social relevance for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Objective:
    • The provision has been introduced as ‘airwaves/frequencies’ are public property and need to be used in the best interest of society.
  • The eight listed themes include;
  • Education and spread of literacy,
    • Agriculture and rural development,
    • Health and family welfare,
    • Science and technology,
    • The welfare of women,
    • The welfare of the weaker sections of society,
    • Protection of the environment and of cultural heritage, and
    • National integration.
  • Exceptions:
    • For the foreign channels,
    • The channels include those related to sports, where it would not be feasible to broadcast such content.
  • Decision-making Authority: As and when required, the Centre would issue general advisories to the channels in this regard.
  • Significance of the step: The new guidelines will replace those operational since 2011, and would ease the issue of permission to the companies and limited liability partnership firms (which have been allowed for the first time) registered in India for uplinking-downlinking of TV channels and associated activities.

Frequency bands used for Telecommunication:

The following table shows the main frequency bands used for satellite links.

Frequency Band

Downlink

Uplink

C

3,700-4,200 MHz

5,925-6,425 MHz

Ku

11.7-12.2 GHz

14.0-14.5 GHz

Ka

17.7-21.2 GHz

27.5-31.0 GHz

The C band is the most frequently used. The Ka and Ku bands are reserved exclusively for satellite communication but are subject to rain attenuation. Some satellites carry transponders for both C and Ku bands.

Benefits listed:

  • For Live Telecast events: The requirement to seek permission for the live telecast of events will not be required now and only prior registration of events would be necessary for live telecast.
  • Ease in getting a nod: Prior permission would not be needed for a change of language or conversion of the mode of transmission, from Standard Definition to High Definition or vice versa; only prior intimation would suffice.
  • Make India a Teleport Hub:  As it proposes for the grant of permission, LLPs/companies would be allowed to uplink foreign channels from Indian teleports which would create employment opportunities and make India a teleport hub for other countries.
  • Broadened the Scope: The guidelines have broadened the possibility of allowing the transfer of TV channels/teleport to a company/LLP, as permissible under the Companies Act or the Limited Liability Act.
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