To clear the backlog of more than 600 DAS Phase-3 licenses that are pending, with less than 6 months for the deadline, the I&B ministry has decided to bypass the MHA logjam by issuing provisional licenses against affidavits. It seems ironical that the government task force is pushing cable networks to implement DAS, but the government has not yet even processed licenses applications submitted months ago........
The Cable TV Industry in India is poised for another big change. Since the beginning of Cable TV, there have been major technological advancements both in control room equipment and also in distribution network equipment. The last major change, few years ago, was changing the distribution trunk from coaxial to fiber optic........
PROVISIONAL LICENSES FOR DAS PHASE-3
The third phase of DAS is a herculean task as it covers 38.79 million TV households across 630 districts and 7,709 urban areas spanning 29 states and 5 Union Territories.
With 6 months to go for the DAS Phase-3 deadline, the I&B ministry is faced with the grim fact that 681 DAS Phase-3 license applications are pending processing by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for grant of security clearance.
A mere 169 DAS MSO licenses have been issued in the past 3 years (including DAS Phases 1 & 2), against 850 applications! The logjam is at the MHA.
PROVISIONAL DAS LICENSES
When DAS Phase 1 was being implemented, the I&B ministry issued provisional DAS MSO licenses. These provisional licenses allowed the DAS MSO to commence commercial operations, but the government could revoke the license if the Home Ministry objected. As a consequence, a DAS MSO can be told to shut down even a year after investing Crores of rupees in the Digital Headend and STBs.
PERMANENT DAS LICENSES
Taking cognizance of this, for the past year or so, the I&B ministry has waited for MHA clearance and only issued 10 year permanent DAS licenses for Digital Headends.
REVERT TO TEMPORARY LICENSES
The backlog of 681 DAS Headend licenses has pushed the I&B ministry to once again revert to the practice of issuing temporary licenses. "Security clearance is consuming more time than anticipated. Considering the paucity of time, issuing provisional registrations to MSOs would be a more rational step."
CRITERIA FOR PROVISIONAL LICENSE
To receive a provisional DAS Headend license, the applicant should:
♣ Not have been convicted by any court of law.
♣ Applicants (individuals or companies) who have earlier been denied security clearance, will not be considered for provisional registration.
SELF DECLARATION NOTIFICATION
On 11 June 2015, the I&B ministry issued a notice that it would grant provisional DAS MSO licenses, if the applicants submitted an Affidavit undertaking that they will:
♣ Immediately shut down operations, if they are denied clearance by the MHA.
♣ No criminal case is pending against the applicant in any court of law, against the company or any of its key executives.
♣ No key executives have been convicted in any court of law in India.
A Draft of the Self Declaration and the original Notification are included in this article. It is also available on our website at: www.scatmag.com/ DAS_selfdeclaration.
It remains to be seen, to what extent the I&B ministry will expedite the DAS MSO license applications, even after receiving the selfdeclarations, and whether it will still leave adequate lead times for set up of DAS Phase-3 Headends, within the stipulated deadline of 31st December 2015. n