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India close to realising 74% FDI cap for TV sector

A long anticipated hike in the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit to 74% for India's entire digital broadcasting sector is reportedly very close, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has disclosed.

"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 the Hindustan Times.

He added the mandatory digitisation of India's cable TV network is going to be costly and so, by raising FDI limits, the government hopes for "greater capital flows into the sector".

The greater cap will apply to broadcast distributors and carriage platforms such as direct to home (DTH) satellite TV providers, internet protocol TV (IPTV), mobile TV, head ends in the sky (HITS) and cable TV operators.

Currently, India's mobile TV, HITS and IPTV companies have a 74% FDI limit, while cable, DTH companies and teleport outfits are restricted to a 49% FDI cap.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting endorsed the recommendations of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) back in May 2011. Its proposal is reportedly now in the final stage of processing by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

India's cable TV network is to be digitised by the end of December 2014, with the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai kicking off proceedings with digitisation scheduled for June this year.

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