The government has decided to give eight months time to private FM players to start their services in metro cities. The Centre has also given a seven-day ultimatum to the operators in the non-metro cities to either pay their license fees or forfeit their bank guarantees, which is equivalent to the first year’s fee.
The FM licensees in metros such as Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai have now been given eight months to operationalise their channels. This would mean setting up permanent co-located facilities. The Mumbai FM licensees have been given an extension of 24 months to set up such facilities.
According to the license condition, failure to operationalise the channels within the stipulated deadline would attract encashment of the bank guarantees furnished by the operators.
Recently, the Government had permitted private FM companies to use the existing facilities of All India Radio (AIR) for transmitting radio signals. The I&B Ministry had signed a MoU with the private FM companies to use the existing facilities of AIR in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. In Mumbai, however, the AIR tower does not have the capacity to accommodate private operators.