TRAI recommends increased FDI in FM radio broadcasting
New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), in order to take FM radio broadcasting to the next growth level by making it accessible to everyone, Friday recommended increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector. The FDI limit for FM Radio broadcasting permission holders, who want to broadcast news, should be enhanced to 26 percent from the present 20 percent, TRAI said in its list of recommendations to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. The FDI cap for FM Radio broadcasting permission holders who do not opt for news broadcasting should be enhanced to 49 percent from 20 percent, the TRAI recommended. In terms of the ownership pattern, the regulator recommended no change till the start of the broadcasting operations. Diluting the shares by majority shareholders would be allowed after start of FM radio operation and it would be subjected to the condition that their shareholding does not go below 51 percent, with the prior permission of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. FM radio broadcasters should be permitted to broadcast news by taking content from authorised sources, TRAI said. All private FM radio broadcasters may be permitted to connect their networks, but networks across the permission holders should not be permitted, TRAI said. It also recommended change in the geographical basis for private FM radio bidding in future to be changed from city to district. The existing ceiling of 15 percent of total FM radio channels in the country permitted to a licence holder is no longer valid, TRAI said. The regulator also said in order to encourage diversified content development, there should be no restriction on the outsourcing of content production as well as leasing of content development equipment.