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Registration of TV Channel


Registration TV Channel in India involves various registrations and approvals which includes, the approval/register itself with Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (“MIB”) and/or Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”) and/or (Wireless Planning & Coordination Authority) Wing of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (“WPC”) as the case may be.
Though the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (“Telegraph Act”) does not explicitly define ‘telecommunications service’ and ‘broadcasting service’, the TRAI Act, 1997, defines communication service in Section 2(1)(k) as:
“Service of any description (including electronic mail, voice mail, data services, audio-text services, video-text services, radio paging, and cellular mobile telephones services) which is made available to users by means of a transmission or reception of signals, writing, images, and sounds or intelligence of any nature, by wire, radio, visual or any other electronic means but shall not include broadcasting services.”
[Provided that the Central Government may notify other service to be telecommunication service including broadcasting services.]

Although, ‘broadcasting’ is expressly excluded from this definition, as per MIB’s directive dated January 09, 2004, the government was authorised to notify broadcasting services to be a telecommunication service. This notification gave TRAI the authority to regulate broadcasting and cable services in India. The licence required for broadcasting (the Wireless Operating Licence) is given by WPC.

In general, to offer most kinds of broadcasting services, a broadcasting company must obtain two types of licences:
(i)         A Grant of Permission (“GOPA”) to offer broadcast services which is issued MIB; and
(ii)        A wireless operating licence from the WPC under the Wireless Telegraphy Act.
For a broadcaster to offer its programmes to the end consumers requires uplinking (i.e., sending signal from ground station to satellite) and downlinking (i.e.. transmitting signal from satellite to receiving station on the ground to be relayed to customer). MIB has a separate set of guidelines in respect to uplinking and downlinking which has been discussed below. The application process has three distinct phases which are for:- (i) approval to uplink TV channel; (ii) approval for setting-up Teleport for uplink or endorsement by third party Teleport for uplink; and (iii) approval for downlink of TV channel.

The list of government departments and agencies involved in the entire application process are as follows:
(i)         Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
(ii)        Ministry of Home Affairs
(iii)       Department of Space
(iv)       Foreign Investment Promotion Board under Ministry of Finance (only if foreign investment is involved)
(v)        Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
Ø  Wireless Planning & Coordination Authority Wing under Department of Telecommunications
Ø  Standing Advisory Committee on Frequency Allocation under Wireless Planning & Coordination Authority

POLICY GUIDELINES FOR UPLIKING OF TELEVISION CHANNELS FROM INDIA (“UPLINKING GUIDELINES”)

The Uplinking Guidelines were first notified by MIB in July, 2000 which underwent various amendments. In order to gather all the amendments in one set of guidelines, MIB notified the consolidated Uplinking Guidelines, in supercession of all previous guidelines which came into effect on December 02, 2005.
The Uplinking Guidelines classify uplinking into three categories:
(i)         Companies that provide uplinking facilities such as hubs and teleports. These can only transmit television channels that have been authorised by MIB.
(ii)        Television channels that use uplinking facilities (including that cover news and current affairs). Example:- NDTV, CNN, BBC etc
(iii)       News agencies channels that use uplinking facilities (including that cover news and current affairs). Example:- Reuters, Press Trust of India, Indo-Asian News Services etc
For detailed flowchart of the application process and further detail w.r.t. registration procedure of TV Channel, please click on the link below:

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