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NBTC panel gives nod to licence for Thaicom 8

The telecom committee of the national regulator yesterday agreed by a vote of 4:1 in principle to grant a licence to Thaicom for the listed company's planned Thaicom 8 broadcasting satellite.

Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said the panel would officially grant the licence to Thaicom 8 after the Information and Communi-cations Technology Ministry confirms that the ministry has the authority to file the satellite at the International Telecommunications Union, and has assigned such a right to Thaicom to launch another satellite in the 78.5-degrees East orbital slot.

"We need to confirm whether the filing process requires the Cabinet, the ICT minister or only the ICT Ministry permanent secretary to approve it. If it can be done at the ministry level, we can approve the licence for Thaicom 8 immediately," he said.

Thaicom 8 will in fact operate under the same licence as that granted by the NBTC to the planned Thaicom 7 satellite in June, 2012, on the grounds that it is a satellite-network expansion project arising from the existing licence.

Thaicom's share price yesterday closed at Bt42.25, up 0.6 per cent on the day.

In a related story, the NBTC telecom committee yesterday agreed to reply to BBL Asset Management's plan for a telecom infrastructure fund by commenting that it should be open to all operators to lease the network.

BBL Asset Management had asked the watchdog to consider the proposal that the infrastructure network of Triple T Broadband in the fund should be leased only to Triple T Internet and TT&T Subscribers Services, and not to any other parties.

Jasmine International is the parent company of Triple Broadband, Triple T Internet and TT&T Subscribers Services.

Takorn said the infrastructure fund needed to be open for all players to lease the networks, and should not be a monopoly concept, in order to serve the NBTC policy on infrastructure-sharing.

The NBTC office will send details of its decision on the matter to both BBL Asset Management and the Securities and Exchange Commission, he added.

The telecom panel also suggested that the project would require a licence from the NBTC if a fund manager were to operate the fund.

According to BBL Asset Management's letter to NBTC, the fund's assets will be in two phases. The first comprises the current assets of Triple T Broadband, namely, 670,000 core kilometres of fibre-optic cable; an access node for ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service for 18,000 nodes; and 1.6 million ports of ADSL cable for home users.

For the second phase over the next three years, assets will comprise a further 147,000 core kilometres of fibre-optic cable, another 10,200 access nodes, and an additional 650,000 ports of ADSL cable.

This is the country's second telecom infrastructure fund, the first being the True Telecommunication Growth Infrastructure Fund (TRUEGIF), which listed last December and has raised Bt58 billion.


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