The Central Administrative Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of Thai TV Co, allowing it to relinquish its digital licences on the grounds that the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) had failed to oversee the transition to digital terrestrial television and expand digital TV coverage according to its own plan.
On June 30 last year, Thai TV sued the broadcast regulator for Bt700 million for its alleged failure in overseeing the socalled digital switchover, or transition from older analogue to digital television.
The Court, however, ruled against a compensation request, saying damages resulted from normal business operations.
Facing failure in the transition, the company refused to pay remaining instalments on upfront payments for its two digital TV licences, amounting to Bt1.6 billion, and annual fees for the licences because it wanted to relinquish them. The company operates the Thai TV news channel and the Loca family channel.
Thai TV is the first digital television station to call it quits by seeking to return its licences for the news and children’s channels.
The NBTC has received Bt8.4 billion from 22 of 24 digital TV licensees. The Central Administrative Court had previously dismissed an injunction request by cash-strapped Thai TV to protect its bank guarantee from being seized by the NBTC.