The Information and Broadcasting ministry has “broadly agreed” to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit for broadcast carriage services to 74% across Direct-to-Home, Internet Protocol TV, Mobile TV, Headend-in-the-Sky and Teleport platforms so that uniformity is achieved in FDI ceiling in carriage services.
A copy of the I&B ministry draft (a copy of which is with HT), said: The 74% limit is justified in the view of the burgeoning growth of the sector which requires huge investment and also in view of the convergences of technologies.
While favoring to retain the 26% FDI cap for news and current affairs TV channels, the ministry agreed for an increase in FDI in FM radio to 26% from the present 20%.
The I&B ministry also agreed with TRAI recommendation for a 74% foreign investment cap for multi-service operators (MSO) from the present 49% adding that amendments also needed to be made in the Cable Act while defining cable operators. In case of local service operators (LCO), it favoured retention of the FDI limit at 49%.
On broadcast carriage services, the ministry's view is that the 49% limit on automatic route is essential since the platform services require substantial infrastructure augmentation and foreign investment needs to be encouraged to fill the investment gap for infrastructure being built up.
There are about 106 million cable and satellite homes in India, of which 26 million are DTH while 80 million are cable homes. There are 706 TV channels in India —among the highest in the world.