The government has proposed a uniform Foreign Direct Investment cap of 74% across the digital cable TV sector.
"We are definitely looking at having a uniform FDI cap of 74% for the digital cable TV sector which at present has different caps. The cap for non-digital cable TV would continue at 49%," Uday Kumar Varma, secretary, information and broadcasting ministry, told
Explaining the rationale behind the move, Varma said: "Digitalisation would require huge investment. With raised FDI limits we are looking at greater capital flows into the sector."
India is targeting complete digitalisation by 31 December, 2014 with the plan aiming at a transition from the prevalent analog system to a digital one is being seen as a game-changer.
Cable TV industry stakeholders had expressed apprehension over switching over to digital technologies because of the huge costs involved.
The enhanced cap would apply to the distribution and various carriage platforms like DTH, IPTV, mobile TV, HITS and cable companies.
The government 's proposal is now in the final process by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
Sources said that 49% of the proposed 74% will be put under automatic route with the remaining to be routed through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
At present, the current caps for FDI differ across platforms. FDI limit for mobile TV, HITS and IPTV is 74% while for cable distribution companies it is 49%.
Digitalisation, aiming at a transition from the prevalent analog system to a digital one, is being seen as a veritable game-changer. Broadcasters will increase their subscription revenues besides ushering in a regime of clearer subscription figures.
Consumers will also be able to select channels of their choice with digital broadcasts having sharper pictures, better sound quality and a much bigger number of channels.