Ball has been set rolling for the third phase of FM expansion in India. A PTI report states that the Group of Ministers (GoM) on FM Phase III rollout at a meeting on January 19, 2011, decided against the conventional open auction model and instead chose the e-auction method.
The main features of the FM Phase III policy are:
1. License period extended from the current 10 years to 15 years
2. Limited news allowed
3. Current affairs and sports allowed
4. Networking across all stations allowed
5. Lowering of Prasar Bharti rentals/ CTI costs
The third phase of FM expansion is expected to allow 700 more FM stations in the country, specifically in smaller cities and towns. There are over 200 FM stations currently in operation in the country.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has stressed on encouraging community radio service. It may be recalled that in August 2010, MIB had launched online application system for community radio stations.