The licences of 78 MSOs were either cancelled by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting or surrendered by the companies concerned, according to Indian government data.
As on March 1, 2021, there were 1,715 registered MSOs in India of which six were granted licences to operate in Jan-Feb 2021.
Some of the new licence holders include Shri Bhagvati Satellite, G.N.S Cable Network, Aishwarya Chaitra Cable Network, Ranchi Digital, DEB TV and Sherie Plexus.
As per a 2017 government order all registered MSOs, unless indicated in registration order specifically, can operate anywhere in India once given a license.
Two companies continue to have provisional licences, which include Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation Ltd. and Godfather Communication Pvt. Ltd.
Arasu, which is allowed to operate in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu, incidentally is a state government undertaking and, probably, marks the only case where a state has its own cable TV distribution network.
Godfather Communication’s case falls under the provisional licence category as the company had challenged a cancellation order from MIB in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2013. The court in 2014 had stayed the MIB order till the case was disposed of completely. In 2017 it had directed the government to grant the MSO provisional license.
The case is still pending a final sign-off by the high court.
Godfather Communication’s operational areas include the Indian northern and central states of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, according to information put out by MIB on its website.