The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will soon begin consultations on modifications in the uplink and downlink guidelines for TV channels and foreign investment limits in the broadcasting sector.
Following a government directive to this effect, TRAI has now invited views from stakeholders before 2 November.
The information and broadcasting ministry recently wrote to TRAI asking it to revise the guidelines while also expressing concern over the growing number of TV channels in the country as well as the shortage spectrum.
Raghu Menon, secretary to the I&B ministry, has asked TRAI to revisit the present policy and consider introducing riders if necessary.
In his letter, Menon pointed out that due to the liberal approach of the government towards uplinking and downlinking (under policies laid down in November and December 2005), permissions have been granted to 423 channels for uplinking, of which 230 are in the news category. In addition, 76 channels, including 15 news channels, have been uplinked from overseas and have been given downlinking permission. Apart from these, around 170 applications are awaiting approval.
Admitting that improved technological changes have resulted in better utilisation of available spectrum and transponder capacities, Menon nonetheless said that since spectrum is not "unlimited'' there was a need to "revisit the present policy''.