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Armed Forces sue NBTC over master plan

THE ROYAL Thai Armed Forces Headquarters recently filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) with the Central Administrative Court over the telecom watchdog’s overall spectrum master plan, which would pave the way for amateur radio operators to share the Armed Forces’ 50-54MHz spectrum range.

Currently the Armed Forces alone use this band, while amateur radio operators use other bands. However, the master plan opens the way for amateur radio operators to use the Armed Forces' band. The plan states that amateur radio operators would be able to use the band once a study proves that their use will not affect the Armed Forces.

According to its complaint to the court, the Armed Forces want the watchdog to remove such a provision for amateur radio operators in the master plan, which took effect last September. The plaintiffs include the Supreme Command, Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The Armed Forces said that during the NBTC public hearing on the draft of the latest master plan, most of the hearing attendants said that such a provision for amateur radio operators should be removed from the draft.

However, the NBTC declined to take this majority opinion into account.

The court has already summoned the disputed parties to see if the court should hear the case. The court has already heard from the NBTC and is waiting to hear from the Armed Forces.

The NBTC office has asked its telecom committee what it plans to do if the court decides to hear the case.

The office asked if the committee would choose to fight the case in the court or remove such a provision from the master plan.

The telecom committee will meet to discuss this issue on Tuesday.

One NBTC commissioner said the watchdog might choose to |have a court issue a ruling on the case.

At present, the number of amateur radio users in Thailand is estimated to be around 400,000 nationwide.

They are using other bands for their communications.

The International Telecom Union defined the spectrum range of 50-54 MHz as the standard band for amateur radio.

A source from the amateur radio sector said the operators are hopeful that they could use such a band in the future.






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