Granting of 31 satellite TV licences set for January 30
The broadcasting regulator will grant licences for 31 satellite TV channels on January 30.The broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) also yesterday approved the awarding tomorrow of 515 permits to radio broadcasters to trial the business, of which 404 are for commercial service, 67 for public service and 44 for community service.
It also approved 271 licences to operate a network broadcasting service, of which five are for national networks, 52 for regional networks and the rest for community networks.
The licences are for companies wanting to serve cable and satellite TV broadcasters.
The committee allowed TV Channel 5 to test a terrestrial digital TV service at the end of this month as part of the country's conversion from analog to digital TV.
Similar permits have been granted to Channel 7, Modernine TV and NBT.
Also yesterday, the Senate voted 68-51 to postpone the selection of five members to the superboard pending the Supreme Adminis-trative Court's ruling on an appeal of an injunction against the selection of candidates from the consumer protection field to the superboard.
The superboard's role is to evaluate the NBTC's performance.
The Senate, which was set to select five of 10 finalists to sit on the superboard this month, recently lodged the appeal to the upper court, which is expected to issue its decision next month.
Each of the five winning candidates from the field of 10 will represent a specific interest group.
On December 18, the Central Administrative Court issued an injunction against the selection process at the request of Wutiporn Diewpanit, who failed to make the cut as a candidate with a consumer-protection background.
Senator Anurak Niyomvet said Article 70 of the Frequency Allocation Act required one superboard member from one of five backgrounds - radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, telecommunications, promotion of rights and freedoms, and consumer protection.
If the Senate appoints only four members, leaving out the one with consumer protection expertise, and without waiting for the court case to be sorted out, this could attract a legal challenge, he said.
However, some senators said the Senate should press ahead with the selection of five superboard members, regardless of the legal issue. They cited the Senate's regulations of superboard appointment requiring the chamber to vote to fill the superboard seats within 30 days of receiving the shortlist of candidates. That deadline is Thursday.