Information and Broadcasting ministry on 2 March 2015, invited bids for e-auctioning of the first batch of Phase III FM channels to expand the reach of FM Radio in the country. The Government has begun FM Phase III so that private FM radio channels may be set up in all the cities with a population of more than 1 lakh.
This Phase will also include eleven cities in border area of J&K and North-East, where population is less than 1 lakh.
In the first batch of e-auction, 135 channels for 69 existing cities of Phase-II have been considered. Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending e-auction process will be carried out for allotting the FM channels."
According to the Notice the permission holder will be permitted to carry the news bulletins of All India Radio in exactly same format which are mutually agreed with Prasar Bharati and no other news and current affairs programs are permitted. The government will pre-qualify those applicants who meet the eligibility criteria (NIA) which has been put up by ministry on its website
In the NIA, the ministry has also given a tentative time line for the auction of the first batch of Phase III FM channels. Last date for submission of applications is March 23, 2015. As per I&B ministry's timeline, the mock auction will be conducted 4-5 days after the process of Pre-Qualification of Bidders is completed.
The process of Pre-Qualification of Bidders is expected to complete by April 17 or Completion of requisite formalities whichever is later, the ministry's tentative timeline says.The auctions are expected to begin one week after the process of pre-qualification of bidders is over.