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Unhappy members go for licences

With the deadline approaching, 90 members of the Satellite Television Association (Thailand) yesterday applied for network and service provider licences although they still oppose the payment of licence fees and research and development funds to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

"We want to express our support by complying with the NBTC's regulations but we do hope that the commission understands our reasons and revises the rules for us," the association president Nipon Naksompop said yesterday.

The association's members, including Nation Broadcasting Corp, Voice TV, Spring News and IPM Satellite TV, believe improper licence fees would add a high cost to doing business.

Radio and television broadcasters - including digital terrestrial, satellite |and cable TV operators - must pay 2 per cent of their gross revenue for the licence and 2 per cent for the NBTC's fund |for broadcasting service R&D.

Nipon urged an additional cut in both payments.

The rules also limit commercials to six minutes per hour for pay-TV broadcasters even though they offer free-to-air service.

"Our members also consider this unfair," he added.

He and other association representatives also lodged a request on this matter to the NBTC's broadcasting committee yesterday.

Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the broadcasting committee, said the rules might have an impact on those businesses but the watchdog would help them in any possible way within the law.

The NBTC has finished drafting a regulation to reduce or waive the broadcasting licence fee. Licensed cable/satellite TV operators would get a 15-per-cent discount if they commit at least half of their air-time slots to news, information and edutainment programmes for public service.

The draft will go to a public hearing on December 27, he added.

Registration for cable/satellite TV operators opened on November 2 and will close on December 16.

This is an attempt to bring about 1,000 cable/satellite TV operators under the broadcasting laws. Half of them are cable TV operators, of which about 20 are network providers.

The NBTC expects to grant licences to all registered service and network providers by next month.


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