TRAI releases Recommendations on “Issues related to Low Power Small Range FM Radio Broadcasting”


Low power FM radio implemented to deliver audio services at drive-in movie theaters, amusement parks, commercial establishments, residential complexes, and more.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has formulated its recommendations addressing matters concerning low-power, small-range FM radio broadcasting.

This initiative stems from a request dated March 7, 2022, made by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), seeking TRAI’s input as per Section 11(1)(a)(i) of the TRAI Act, 1997. The request pertained to assessing the need and timing of introducing new service providers for applications like drive-in theaters.

Low-power, small-range FM broadcasting is a widely utilized method for transmitting audio content within the confines of drive-in theaters. Its effectiveness extends beyond these theaters, finding application in diverse settings such as hospital radio services, amusement parks, commercial establishments, closed communities like residential complexes, small settlements, and live commentary for local events like airshows and sports events.

TRAI initiated a consultation process on April 17, 2023, soliciting feedback from stakeholders on aspects related to Low Power Small Range FM Radio Broadcasting. The deadline for submitting comments was May 22, 2023, with a provision for counter-comments until June 5, 2023. TRAI received six comments and one counter-comment from stakeholders, all accessible on TRAI’s website. Subsequently, on July 19, 2023, an Open House Discussion was conducted via video conferencing.

Following a meticulous assessment of all comments and counter-comments, coupled with a comprehensive analysis of the issues at hand, TRAI has now arrived at its finalized recommendations.

These recommendations for ‘Low Power Small Range FM Radio Broadcasting’ encompass the introduction of a new service provider category. This category allows Indian citizens above the age of eighteen, as well as companies, including Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and partnership firms, to acquire licenses through a streamlined online registration process. Approval from the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) is necessary for the use of transmitting equipment.

Entities ineligible for this license category encompass individuals declared legally incapacitated, undischarged insolvents, individuals with criminal convictions, political and religious organizations, and associated companies.

The validity period for licenses can range from a minimum of thirty days to a maximum of five years, and there are no associated application or entry fees. License fees vary from Rs 1000 to Rs 10,000 per annum. Frequency allocation will be administered by the Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) within two days of application submission, and license holders are permitted to utilize diverse transmission technologies.

The prescribed maximum transmission range is 500 meters, with precise geographical coordinates delineating the licensed area, and a maximum power limit of 1 watt for low-power, small-range FM broadcasting.

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