July 2018


More than 100 licenses for new TV channels have been pending with the I&B ministry for over a year. In fact, the Modi government issued only 215 TV channel licences from June 2014 to December 2017. The MIB cancelled 67 TV channel licences in 2017. Only a handful of TV licenses have been issued in 2018.

There has probably been an intentional 'Go Slow' in issue of TV licenses as the MIB mulled several new measures, including the auction of licenses.

The MIB referred the matter to TRAI for recommendations on changes in a new TV licensing regime.

On 25 June 2018, TRAI released its "Recommendations on Issues relating to Uplinking & Downlinking of Television Channels in India."

A summary of the recommendations are:

1) No change to the existing definitions of 'News' and 'Non News' TV channels.

2) No change in minimum net-worth of applicant companies, viz:

i. Uplinking & Downlinking of Non News Channels ₹ 5 Cr for 1st channels
₹ 2.5 Cr for each additional channel
ii. Uplinking & Downlinking of News Channels ₹ 20 Cr for 1st channels
₹ 5 Cr for each additional channel
iii. Only Downlinking of Channels ₹ 5 Cr for 1st channels
₹ 2.5 Cr for each additional channel

3) No auctioning of uplinking & downlinking permissions.

New Licenses Should Not Be Auctioned

4) Permission process should be streamlined by removing redundant processes, re-engineer necessary processes, and making them efficient using ICT.


i. Channels having India uplinking permissions should require registration

ii. Channels uplinked outside India should require permission as well as registration.

iii. Dept Of Space must provide satellite use clearance decision in 60 days. No DoS clearance required for already cleared satellites. WPC must allocate spectrum for satellites as an when required, in a time bound manner.

iv. Home ministry must provide its clearance decision in 60 days. Clearance validity (revocable) for the company should be the duration of the license. No fresh clearance required for additional channels. Clearance validity (revocable) for individuals should be 10 years.

v. Open Sky Policy Adopted For Ku band. (i.e. Foreign satellites can be contracted directly by DTH platforms)

Open Sky Policy For Ku Band Sats & DTH Platforms

5) Annual License fee for uplinking and downlinking increased to:

 Uplinking from India: ₹ 3 lakh Permission Fee & no Entry Fee

 Downlinking of channel uplinked from India: ₹ 7.5 Permission Fee & no Entry Fee

 Downlinking of channel uplinked from abroad: ₹ 22.5 lakh Permission Fee & ₹ 10 Lakh Entry Fee

Transfer Of Permission To Another Company Not Allowed

6) Transfer of permissions should not be permitted between 2 different companies. Hence a license cannot be sold to another company.

7) Not compulsory for FTA channels to encrypt their broadcasts.


1) No change in one-time non-refundable processing fee for permission.

2) No Entry fee for granting teleport permission.

3) ₹ 3 lakhs per antenna per annum license fee.

4) No restriction on the number of teleports in India.

5) Location of teleports left to teleport operators, subject to site clearance from WPC wing of DoT.