NBTC aims to nail down OTT regulation by year’s end

Economy September 12, 2017 17:53

By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
THE NATION

THE National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is on track to complete the regulatory framework for so-called over the top delivery of content by the end of this year.



The agency also will follow the guidelines of the Asean Telecommuni-cation Regulators’ Council (ATRC) on how the provision of such services is managed in the country.

Air Chief Marshal Thares Punsri, chairman of the NBTC, said the commission would study the corresponding regulatory frameworks applied overseas, in jurisdictions such as the European Union within the Asean bloc before developing the set of regulations for Thailand.

OTT refers to the delivery of content, such as films and TV programmes over the Internet, either free or for a charge, bypassing traditional distribution.

The commission has set up an OTT working group committee to develop the framework and has invited experts and OTT operators to share their knowledge and discuss the issues. This process would lead to the establishment of a regulatory framework that supports OTT providers under the umbrella of the ATRC.

Takorn Tantasith, NBTC secretary-general, said that the commission expects that it will able to gather or collect the measures required to develop the OTT regulatory framework in Thailand today. The commission will set up a public hearing on the regulatory framework as the next step. 

Takorn said the NBTC expects to make an official announcement on the OTT regulatory framework by the end of this year.

The NBTC would submit the framework to ATRC, enabling the Thai agency to work with its peers in the region while supporting the direction of ATRC.

He said that the regulatory framework would cover five major areas, including the promotion and support of startups and other new businesses in digital era, the effect of OTT-related financial services and the impact on OTT-related telecommunications services, along with other regulatory measures and customer protection. 

Peter Lovelock, director of the Technology Research Project Corporate in Singapore, said OTT enables local players to provide innovative and localised services such as e-commerce platforms and video on demand streaming services. It also helps small businesses to reach new markets and supports economic growth everywhere.

He added that Thailand's e-commerce market is poised to grow to US$120 billion by 2020, almost double the US$72 billion in 2016. Over 50 per cent of e-commerce purchase are made over mobile. 

Moreover, Thailand is world's largest social commerce market with 51 per cent of online shoppers having purchased directly via social media. Consumer-to-consumer social commerce conducted over platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Line contribute to a third of total Thai e-commerce gross merchandise value.