NBTC may restrict access to licences
Move to stop cross-media ownership
Companies intending to bid for commercial digital terrestrial TV licences might be prohibited from entering a beauty contest for 12 public digital TV channels to prevent cross-media ownership.
This principle will be a key part of the draft regulations for the allocation of public digital terrestrial TV channels, a source at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said recently.
The NBTC expects to complete the draft by the end of next month before the beauty contest begins. Government agencies, educational institutions, foundations, non-profit organisations and even companies would be allowed to apply to this contest, but they must not be involved with the operation of commercial digital TV channels.
This limitation might raise questions from firms wanting to have a chance to run both public and commercial digital TV channels.
The source said the beauty contest appears to face intense competition because of high demand from all applicants.
The NBTC is reserving 12 standard definition channels for public digital TV.
Thai Public Broadcasting Service has informed the NBTC that it desires two operating licences for HD public digital TV channels for general and children's programmes while the Army's TV5 aims to operate a public TV channel for national security.
The Public Relations Department plans to operate Channel 11 as a public TV channel while the Education Ministry will very likely transform Education TV into a public TV channel.
Commercial and public digital terrestrial TV broadcasters might not be granted an operating licence for community-based service, the source added.
By end of this year, the NBTC plans to kick off another beauty contest for 12 digital terrestrial TV channels for community-based service. In the draft rules on the licensing of these channels, the regulator might bar TV broadcasters that operate digital TV for public and commercial purpose from joining the beauty contest for community purposes.