NBTC panel approves discount coupons
The broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) has approved the provision of discount coupons to 22 million households as part of a subsidy scheme to promote the transition to digital terrestrial TV.
Consumers will be able to use the coupons to buy digital television sets or set-top boxes to access content on 48 digital terrestrial TV channels, once these are put in place.
Twelve of the 48 channels will be standard-definition channels for public and community-based services, while the remainder, including four high-definition channels, will provide programming for commercial purposes.
"As national spectra must be used for the public interest, we want to ensure that every household can access new digital TV services equally and smoothly during the transition from analog to digital," Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting panel and the subcommittee on digital terrestrial TV transition, said yesterday.
Under this principle, the value of a discount coupon will depend on the starting-bid price for the operating licences of 24 commercial digital TV channels. The sub-panel overseeing the spectrum auction for digital terrestrial TV broadcasting will decide the opening-bid price by the end of March.
The watchdog and the NBTC's committee overseeing the agency's research and development fund will now consider the details of this subsidy scheme. The process will be finalised by the end of next month, he said.
All revenue from the auction will be placed into the research-and-development fund for broadcasting and telecommunication promotion. The fund oversight committee must acknowledge that revenue from the starting-bid price is reserved for discount coupons for all households, while the remainder will be allocated to the fund, he said.
Further details of distribution of the coupons to consumers will be decided before the auction of broadcasting licences for commercial use in June, Natee added.