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Agency scours provinces for source of signal disruptions that hit TV channels

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will deploy 20 inspection vehicles in the provinces to detect the sources of illegal transmissions that recently interfered with broadcasts of the Asia Update and Blue Sky television channels during the political protests.

The measures resulted from a complaint lodged by Thaicom, the national provider of satellite broadcast services, on November 25 after the company experienced disruptions to its TV signal transmissions.

In an initial response to the complaint, the NBTC deployed three inspection vehicles in Bangkok but failed to identify the source.

Apart from assigning the 20 inspection vehicles to 14 zones across the country, the NBTC also sent a notice to 70 licensed telecom and broadcasting providers for satellite uplink and downlink services reminding them to comply with its regulations.

"It appears to be difficult to find the source [of the signal disruption] as they began transmitting a signal to disrupt both politically oriented channels while the leaders were delivering their speeches. Importantly, the disruption period was too short and the source was moving," said NBTC secretary-general Thakorn Tanthasit.

Apart from those two satellite TV channels, free TV channels that send their programmes via satellite signals, namely Thai TV Channel 3, Royal Army TV 5, Channel 7, Modernine TV and Thai PBS, were also disrupted at the same time.

Thakorn said the violators were risking harsh penalties, as such disruptions were considered acts of terrorism under Article 135/1 of the Criminal Code.

"In this regard, a violator will be fined Bt60,000 to Bt100,000 or jailed, or [may even face the] death penalty," he said.

Such violators are also in breach of the Act on Radio Broadcasting and Radio Television BE 2498 (1955). If found guilty, they will face a Bt100,000 fine or five years in jail or both.


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