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Value of NBTC voucher may rise

THE National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will consider increasing the value of vouchers to subsidise the purchase of digital TV set-top boxes, as it expects to reap a huge bonus from the auction of 24 commercial terrestrial digital TV licences.

A source from the NBTC's broadcasting committee said value of the voucher will likely be raised to Bt1,000 from Bt690 as planned. They would be given to about 22 million households for the purchase of a set-top box or as partial payment towards the cost of a digital TV set in order to watch the new channels. The price of a set-top box averages Bt1,000.

The voucher plan would be financed by the licence reserve price of all 24 licences out of the total up-front amount. The excess after the reserve price would be funnelled to the NBTC's fund for developing broadcasting industries.

The Bt690 value assumed a total reserve price of Bt15.9 billion, divided by 22 million households.

Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the Broadcasting Committee, said it is possible that the committee would divert part of the excess price to the voucher project so that it could help more consumers convert to digital viewing.

The committee will have to discuss this proposal with the committee managing the fund for developing broadcasting industries.

The two-day auction started yesterday with seven HD and seven SD variety licences on the block. Today would see bidding on SD news and SD family channels.


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