The formal guidelines on introducing Direct-to-Home (DTH) television service will be issued within a day or two. The fresh guidelines will, however, not be significantly different from the sketchy norms laid down in the initial DTH draft issued on November 2, 2000.
Although broadcasters expect the FDI limit in the DTH platform to go up to 49 per cent from the present 20 per cent and also want the sectoral cap of 20 per cent to be lifted, the government is determined not to revise the norms.
DTH will be a platform with a restriction of 20 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI). The total foreign investment in the DTH cannot exceed 49 per cent - 20 per cent FDI and 29 per cent through foreign institutional investors or NRIs. Also, there's a 20 per cent sectoral cap for broadcasters. To acquire the DTH licence, a company will have to pay Rs 10 crore as entry fee. Moreover, the company will have to share 10 per cent per year of its annual revenues with the government.
Once the final guidelines are issued, potential DTH players are expected to apply for setting up a DTH platform. So far, Doordarshan, Star, Zee, MTNL, VSNL and Sterling are among the major players who have shown interest in joining the DTH fray.