TRAI releases Recommendations on “Issues related to Digital Radio Broadcasting in India”

Feb 02, 2018 | by Avantis RegTech Legal Research Team

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) vide press release dated February 01, 2018 has released its recommendation “Issues related to Digital Radio Broadcasting in India”.

In order to develop an eco-system, which can facilitate deployment of digital radio broadcasting, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had suo-moto issued a consultation paper on “Issues related to Digital Radio Broadcasting in India” on July 10, 2017. Written comments and counter comments on the consultation paper were invited from the stakeholders by September 04, 2017 and September 18, 2017.The Authority after carefully examining various issues emanating from the written submissions of the stakeholders, Open House Discussions, International practices and its own analysis has arrived at its recommendations.

The salient features of the recommendations are:

(i)         Government should notify the policy framework for digital radio broadcasting in India in time bound manner with clear roadmap for rollout of digital radio broadcasting services.

(ii)       The WPC wing of DOT should carry out necessary amendments in NFAP- 2011 for permitting Digital Radio Broadcasting in MW, SW, and VHF-II frequency bands

(iii)      Private sector should be permitted to provide digital radio broadcasting services within the existing frequency band of 88 -108 MHz used for FM radio broadcasting.

(iv)     Frequency and geographical area coverage planning for digital radio broadcasting using the vacant 600 KHz spectrum in VHF-II (88-108 MHz) and VHF-III (174-230 MHz) bands should be completed by BECIL, AIR, and WPC together in phased manner.

(v)       For liberalizing of existing spectrum, already allocated to the FM radio broadcasters in Phase-III of FM Radio, they will have to pay an amount equal to the difference of auction determined price of equivalent spectrum for digital radio broadcasting in a City and amount paid for allocation of FM radio frequency.

(vi)     The broadcasters should be allowed to make use of any available digital technology, recognized by ITU, within the allocated/liberalized spectrum for providing digital radio broadcasting services subject to adaptation, if any, recommended by MIB/TRAI from time to time.

(vii)    No date for digital switch over of radio broadcasting services should be declared at this stage.

(viii)  Existing analog FM Radio channels should be allowed to remain operational for the remaining period of their Phase-III permissions.

(ix)     The continuance of operation of existing analog FM Radio channels that do not migrate to digital radio broadcasting, should be reviewed after the expiry of their existing Phase-III permissions.

(x)       The auction of remaining channels of Phase-III should be done by delinking them from technology. Broadcasters should be permitted to use ' any technology (analog or digital or both) for radio broadcasting on the frequency allocated to them through auction in future.

(xi)     For initial 3years after declaration of digital radio broadcasting policy, the Government should grant fiscal incentives in the form of lower tax rates to manufacturers of digital radio receivers

 [Press Release No. 12/2018]



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