GoI has released a public consultation paper on LPFM. It is divided into sections, each of which elicit some enumerated issues for response.
The following are the preliminary points to which responses are invited.
- Should the use of low power small range FM Radio broadcasting by various entities be licensed or unlicensed? Please provide your comments with detailed justification.
- In case use of low power small range FM Radio is licensed, whether there is a need for the introduction of a new category of service provider for using low power small range FM Radio broadcasting? Please provide your comments with detailed justification.
- Should the low power Radio equipment continue to be subjected to type approval by WPC?
a. If yes, do the current technical specifications / approval process require any amendment/ modification/simplification?
b. If not, please suggest as to how to ensure quality standards for the equipment and users of low power FM services.
- In case stakeholders consider that license is necessary for low power small range FM broadcasting, what should be the:
(a) Eligibility criteria
(b) Period of License
(c) Entry Fee
(d) License Fee
(e) Area of operation
(f) Allocation of Spectrum
(g) Technical parameters
(h) Any additional terms and conditions governing such licenses.
- Whether some specific frequencies in the existing FM band can be dedicated for low power FM Radio broadcasting? Please provide details with justification.
- What should be the licensed area of frequency assignment- location-wise (Stadium, Auditorium, Malls, Residential complex etc.) or city-wise. Please provide details with justification.
- What should be the maximum power of a low power small range FM transmitter? Please provide your inputs with detailed justification.
- The points raised are based on detailed notes prepared by the Ministry. It should be noted, however, that the background notes completely ignore the practice of LPFM used in India between the time the Supreme Court order of 1995 declared the airwaves were public property and the presentation of a Bill (2003) that effectively barred the use of FM at any emissive power range, including that of an already operating community radio station.
- The notes also indicate that the present consultation is aimed at creating a special window for use by purely commercial operations.
- The above points make it clear to actual experienced radio users that the ‘consultation’ is designed in such a manner that it will endorse and create a commercially driven fencing around public airwaves, so that those commercial interests will ensure that any citizen-facing usage of this public property is made financially risky, apart from illegal.
This conversation will be used to generate a consultative response from public-minded radio technology and civil society radio supporters to the TRAI call.