January 2020

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Q: I have a cable TV network, in my wife's name. My wife is the sole proprietor of that company.

We now want to expand our network. A neighbouring LCO wants to join my headend and become a partner of the company.

Will it be easy to add the second name to my DAS MSO license?

Kewal Saptarishi, Madhya Pradesh

ANS: Your existing license is issued to a proprietorship firm, i.e. to a single individual.

If one more person is to be added, then the firm will become a partnership firm.

Hence you will need the DAS license in the name of a (new) Partnership firm. A DAS MSO license cannot be transferred from a proprietorship to a partnership.

As a result, you will unfortunately require to apply for and obtain a new DAS MSO license in the name of the new partnership firm.


Q: Our family business has been a small jewellery shop in our town. About 10 years ago we started a cable TV network, under the same name which is well known in our town.

A few years ago, to grow our Cable TV business, we took a ISP license to start a internet delivery network in our town. However, since JIO started giving free internet in Gujarat, where we are located, we never started the ISP business.

We have recently received a notice from the Government asking us to calculate and tell them the amount of license fee we have to pay. Since we have not done any internet business can we simply ignore the Government letter?

Pranab Shah, Gujarat.

ANS: If your jewellery business, cable TV business and internet license are obtained under the same name, then you will have to pay 8% of your total revenues (Sales) as the ISP license fee. This will include the annual revenue for your jewellery business + your cable TV network even though your ISP revenue was Zero since you did not start your ISP operations!

All ISP license holders in India have received a similar notice from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) asking them to provide a self-assessment of the 8% AGR payable by them. Further if AGR has not been paid for all these years, you will also be required to pay penalty interest on the unpaid amounts.

You will have read newspaper headlines of the demand for several thousand crores from mobile phone operators and even GAIL & Power Grid which are owned by the Government of India.

The law requires ISPs to pay 8% of their total revenues.


Your only hope is if your ISP license is in a different name / company than your jewellery & cable TV businesses. Then you do not have to pay any AGR on your jewellery & cable TV business revenues.

Please also read the article "DoT Demands 2,97,000 Cr From GAIL & Power Grid" elsewhere in this magazine.


Q: Sir, is entertainment tax applicable, now after GST has been applied?

Please clarify.

Ananda K, Basava Cable Network,
Karnataka Davangere 577006

ANS: The current GST now subsumes (includes) entertainment tax that was earlier levied by the State.

However, there is a provision for local municipalities to levy their own entertainment tax which will be in addition to the GST. To the best of our knowledge, almost no municipalities have started charging their own entertainment tax.

Hence effectively, no separate entertainment tax is currently payable by Cable TV or DTH operators.


Q: I, R. Jain, Prop. (location withheld), have been a subscriber of your magazine for several years. I have been running this business for the past 20 to 25 years.

In Jan 2019, we set up our own DAS Headend. Earlier, I was an LCO, taking a feed from the local MSO, who has now shifted to InDigital.

We received our new STBs (for my own DAS headend) very late. Its taking a lot of time to shift my customers to our Ambika Headend STBs.

My query is - IndiaCast i.e. Colors has stopped giving signal to us, without any prior Notice or information. They are not replying us or taking our calls. They are now asking us to pay them a Fixed amount every month for their pay channels.

Currently, our headend has not encrypted any channel except 2 channels, since we are testing our headend for the CAS & SMS.

Should IndiaCast not provide us their signal free, while we are testing?

Awaiting your reply.

R Jain, (location Withheld)

ANS: I fully understand the stress you are facing. However, the legal position is as follows:

1. Pay Channel broadcasters are not bound to provide free signals of their Pay Channels for any testing period. If they agree to do so, it is nice of them, but you cannot force them to give you free signals for even one day for testing.

2. The law requires that your entire systems be tested and audited that your CAS & SMS systems are working perfectly, before the Pay Channel provides you their signals.

3. It is illegal to provide Pay Channels free of charge to your customers for even one day.

4. According to the law, all channels, even free-to-air and Doordarshan channels must be encrypted before transmission your cable TV network, even for testing.

5. It is illegal for IndiaCast or any broadcaster to ask you to pay a fixed amount every month. You are required to pay only according to the Subscriber management Statement from your digital headend, which provides the exact number of STBs that have subscriber to each pay channel. You can lodge a complaint with TRAI, as long as you have met the requirements outlined in points 1 to 4 above. n

Dish Doctor
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