Small cities to be covered under FM radio

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil on Monday said that the government proposes to extend the coverage of private FM radio services to small cities with a population of at least one lakh.

In her address to both Houses of the Parliament, Patil said, a total of 806 new FM radio channels in 283 cities are proposed to be set up.

"My government proposes to extend the coverage of private FM radio services to all cities with a population of one lakh and above," she said.

The President also said that the government proposes to give incentives to future FM radio operations in Jammu and Kashmir, the North Eastern States and island territories.

The extension of radio services would be done through the phase III expansion and a Group of Ministers has finalised an e-auction model for its roll out.

The GoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, decided against the conventional open auction model and instead chose the e-auction method.

While over 200 private FM radio stations are already in operation, the third phase may allow another 806. The third phase would also focus on smaller cities and towns, where private FM radio is absent.

The license period for the radio stations has been extended to 15 years from the existing 10 years.