The government is not likely to grant licence to the first applicant for direct-to-home (DTH) television, Space Television as the company’s application merely states that it is an Indian firm interested in DTH, without specifying its business activities.
Besides, there are sticky issues such as the divide on the number of Doordarshan channels that would be imposed on DTH, architecture of set-top boxes, revenue-sharing and custom duty on the set-top box.
While stating that it has the backing of the Star group, the company has not given any details on the same. The company’s authorised capital was less than Rs 10 lakh and paid-up capital around Rs 1 lakh, which is too meager for an entity interested in DTH, although the guidelines do not specify a minimum capital base.
According to sources, a decision on the Space TV application is expected within a month, but it is likely to be rejected as it stands.
Among the issues over which there’s a rift between the government and the applicant is the number of must-carry channels on the DTH platform. While the government wants this platform to beam at least 8 to 10 regional Doordarshan channels for nation-wide coverage, the applicant wants to stick to only three must-carry DD channels, as in the case of cable TV.
Also sticky is the issue of set-top box architecture. While the government insists on open-architecture set-top box, which will be compatible for all, the applicant has asked the government to drop that clause. Besides, Space TV has asked for concessions in the area of revenue-sharing with the government and reduction of custom duty on set-top boxes.
Source: Financial Express