Ambika Soni against 3G-like auction for FM

New Delhi : Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni Tuesday said she was not in favour of a 3G spectrum-like auction for phase three of FM radio bands, apprehending it may lead to corporates cornering all the frequencies.

“If you ask for my personal view I am not in favor of an auction on the pattern of 3-G spectrum. This will lead to five or six corporate houses getting the frequencies making it their monopoly,” Soni said on the sidelines of a function here.

The 3-G spectrum was auctioned online through a method called live ascending clock e-auction model. The information and broadcasting ministry has, however, opposed it calling it unsuitable as it is fundamentally different and “can not” be adopted for FM licences.

“The auction for second generation FM was successful,” Soni said.

The model has been suggested as it is expected to earn more revenue, as it did in the case of the 3-G spectrum.

The minister, however, rejected it saying FM is not meant for profit.

“Radio should not be for profit making. It is the most effective and handy tool for information dissemination,” she said.

According to sources, 806 FM radio stations across 217 new towns are to be auctioned in the third phase (FM-III) for private FM radio over a period of three years starting 2011.

The minister added that she expected youth to come up and participate in the auction, which will not be possible in case of a clock auction.

“I would like to see a lot of youth coming up and starting local FM Stations. This will not happen if the 3G method is used,” she added.

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