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Renewal of Multi-System Operators (MSOs) Registration

  • Published
    29th Sep, 2023
Context

According to the press release by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, a set of new guidelines for Multi-System Operators (MSOs) were updated for curbing bureaucratic hurdles and increase transparency.

Who are Multi-System Operators (MSOs)?

  • An MSO is an operator of multiple cable television systems.
  • The majority of system operators run cable systems in more than one community and hence most of them are multiple system operators.’
Background
  • Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) issued first of new registrations to Multi System Operators (MSOs) during the DAS implementation in June 2012, which became due for renewal/extension in June 2022.
  • The Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, however, do not mention provision about renewal of MSO registrations.

About the new guidelines:

  • Objective: The Government is trying to take a move towards digital processes aligns with the government's commitment to facilitating business operations and reducing bureaucratic hurdles.
  • Key points:
    • Multi system operators are now required to apply for registration or the renewal of registration online, utilizing the Broadcast Seva Portal of the government
    • MSO registrations will now be granted or renewed for a more extended period, specifically for ten years.
    • This alteration provides greater stability and predictability for cable operators, enhancing the sector's appeal for potential foreign investments.
    • A processing fee of One lakh has been established for the renewal of registration, streamlining financial transactions and ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements.
    • MSOs are required to apply for the renewal of their registration within a defined window, which spans from seven to two months before the current registration expires.
    • These regulatory changes signify a shift from the previous rules, where only fresh MSO registrations were considered, and there was no specification regarding the validity period of MSO registrations.
    • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has emphasized that MSOs with registrations set to expire within the next seven months must submit their renewal applications online through the Broadcast Seva Portal.
    • An additional provision has been introduced to allow cable operators to share their infrastructure with broadband service providers.

Significance:

  • The new framework is expected to foster a more business-friendly environment, enticing foreign investments and encouraging growth in the cable television sector.
  • It will contribute to enhanced internet penetration, especially in remote and underserved areas.
  • It will also promote the efficient utilization of existing resources, reducing the need for duplicate infrastructure for broadband services.
  • The guidelines align with the government's broader objectives of fostering a digital-first economy and expanding internet connectivity to even the remotest corners of the country.
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