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Govt nod to HITS; FDI cap raised to 74 pc

13-November-2009
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Govt nod to HITS; FDI cap raised to 74 pc

The Union Cabinet on November 12, 2009, approved the proposal of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to issue policy guidelines for Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) operators. The policy guidelines provide for a framework for HITS service providers. However, the policy does not mandate for either the cable operators or subscribers to necessarily obtain signals from a HITS platform/ network, the subscribers and cable operators can continue with the existing system. Hence, the cable operators have liberty to switch over to HITS provider network if so desired. Thus, it has a basic difference from the areas notified for CAS (Conditional Access System), which is mandatory.

HITS services have been allowed in both C-Band and Ku-Band. HITS operators can uplink from Indian soil only and will have to install SMS and encryption system.

The Government has allowed total direct and indirect foreign investment, including FDI, up to 74 per cent. Prior FIPB approval will be required if the FDI in beyond 49 per cent.

The cross media holding restriction of 20 per cent of total paid up equity has been prescribed for various segments of broadcasting services. These restrictions have been provided to avoid vertical integration and to promote competition.

There is, however, no restriction on number of permissions. All those found to be eligible and fulfil the terms and conditions can apply for license.

Existing permission holders of HITS will have to comply and migrate to new policy regime within three months failing which their permission shall be cancelled.

HITS would help a subscriber with a wide choice of digital channels, better picture quality and value added services at affordable price. HITS would provide greater channel capacity from the present limited capacity of channels placed in prime/non prime band.

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