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Monday July 15, 2024

SIFC takes note of delay in launch of DTH services

Company was supposed to start DTH television satellite service within a year of award of the licence

By Zubair Kasuri
May 16, 2024
A representational image of the SIFC logo. — X/@sifcpakistan/File
A representational image of the SIFC logo. — X/@sifcpakistan/File

ISLAMABAD: The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), established by the prime minister (PM), has taken strict note of not launching of DTH [Direct-to-home] television services in Pakistan.

In a letter, written by the Council to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman [SIFC’s U.O. No. 13/39/IT/DTH/2024-SEFC], the SIFC Secretariat wrote that the DTH licence bidding process in Pakistan had started in 2004, after which Pemra re-initiated the bidding process in 2016. Out of three companies, one was successfully granted a DTH services licence.

The company was supposed to start DTH television satellite service within a year of award of the licence. However, no national DTH service was commercially launched in the country till date. The SIFC asked for calling a meeting of all stakeholders next week to deliberate on the matter.

Sources in Pemra said the company, which was given the licence for DTH service, had not taken any steps practically so far.

An application had been submitted by the company for waiver of an amount of over Rs900 million, imposed in the form of various fines. The company also sought permission to procure tax-free equipment to start the DTH services in Pakistan.

According to sources, the company has not paid crores of rupees to Pemra for the licence and it had not started the service according to the schedule. Sources said Pemra had also issued a final notice to the licensee company, Shehbaz International. When this correspondent contacted the Shehbaz Sky International chief executive officer (CEO) to seek his version, he refused to reply to any questions in this regard.