NBTC approves fee relief for broadcasters

Economy June 14, 2018 01:00


THE NATIONAL Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) board yesterday approved the lower network rental fee rates of three digital TV broadcasting network providers in a move that will help ease the financial burden of the digital TV broadcasters.

The new rates, which are between 22 per cent and 26 per cent cheaper than the current ones, will retroactively take effect from June 1, Takorn Tantasith, NBTC secretary-general, said yesterday. The rates will be effective for two years.

The monthly network rental fee of the Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station will be lowered from the current Bt4.72 million to Bt3.5 million for beaming standard definition (SD) programmes and from Bt14.16 million to Bt10.5 million for beaming high definition (HD) programmes.

Those of Thai PBS will be lowered from Bt4.6 million to Bt3.6 million for airing SD programmes and from Bt13.8 million to Bt10.8 million for HD programmes.

The Public Relations Department will cut the rate from the present Bt4.65 million to Bt3.6 million for broadcasting SD programmes and from Bt13.95 million to Bt10.8 million for airing HD programmes.

The move is in line with the junta’s order to the NBTC to review the network rental fees to ease the burden of the dozen or so holders of the NBTC’s digital TV broadcasting licences.

A fourth digital TV broadcasting network provider, MCOT, has yet to propose a new rate to the NBTC for consideration. If it fails to do so before the deadline tomorrow, the NBTC board will go ahead to determine the new rate for it on June 27.

The NBTC has also subsidised the broadcasting network rental fee to all digital TV licence holders by 50 per cent of the fee for two years, effective from May 23, in line with the junta’s recent order.

The NBTC board also acknowledged that MCOT and Springnews will take more than 30 days, from tomorrow, to seek ways to resolve the issue of Springnews’ failure to pay an overdue digital TV broadcasting network rental fee to MCOT.

Separately, Takorn said he is still confident that the regulator would tomorrow receive applications from telecommunications operators to enter the bidding for 1800MHz telecom licences. As tomorrow is the only day that the prospective bidders can submit their applications, it is the effective deadline for the stage of a process that will culminate in the auction on August 4.

If no applications are received, the NBTC will draw up new rules for auction of the 1800MHz licences and they may take at least a year to draft, he added.

True Corp recently announced it would abstain from this auction, saying that its existing 55MHz spectrum bandwidth is enough to maintain its comparative advantage over the long run.