NBTC working on transition to digital radio
Besides digital terrestrial television, digital radio will also be a top priority for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission this year.
By March, the NBTC will begin drafting regulations for the conversion from analog to digital radio on the VHF (very high frequency) band, which is sufficient for such development.
Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said yesterday that initially, the commission would welcome anyone wanting to join a trial for digital radio transmission after the rules and regulations are completed.
Details will be discussed by the subcommittee overseeing the transition to digital terrestrial TV, which is also chaired by Natee.
Digital radio broadcasting seems to be considered something of a novelty not only in Thailand but around the globe, he said.
In Australia, digital radio can be reached by more than 10 per cent of its population. The NBTC aims to learn from Australia's success in this regard.
Natee divulged the digital-radio framework at a news conference to mark the first anniversary of broadcasting-industry reform in Thailand.
However, the conversion to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting takes precedence over the other tasks that the NBTC is set to act on this year.
The permits for infrastructure and network providers will be issued this quarter, followed by those for public digital terrestrial TV broadcasters next quarter.
The spectrum auction for commercial digital terrestrial TV broadcasters is expected to kick off by June, while the permits to operate digital terrestrial TV for community service will be issued by the end of this year.
"Every step in this transition is right on track," Natee said.
All 7,007 registered community radio stations will be given a temporary permit in a couple months for a one-year test run. If they do not violate broadcasting laws during that period, they will receive permanent licences for 14 years.
More than 1,000 cable and satellite TV operators are expected to be granted operating permits in the first half of this year.