April 21, 2014 00:00 By Usanee Mongkolporn
Satellite expected to meet boost in demand for digital TV stations
The Telecom Committee has given its final consent to the Thaicom 8 broadcasting satellite project of Thaicom, Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the committee, said recently.
The committee had approved the project pending confirmation from the Information and Communications Technology Ministry that the ministry had the authority to register the satellite with the International Telecommunications Union.
The ICT Ministry had informed the committee that it did have the authority and had assigned the right to Thaicom to launch another satellite in the 78.5 degrees East orbital slot.
As part of the official approval, Thaicom 8 will operate under the same 15-year licence granted by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to the planned Thaicom 7 broadcasting satellite in June 2012.
The satellite will be sent to the 120 degrees East orbital slot.
Thaicom 8 is needed to serve the expected rise in demand for satellite broadcasting, driven by the existing terrestrial digital TV stations – especially for high-definition TV broadcasting.
The Broadcasting Committee under the NBTC will formally award all 24 commercial digital TV licences to the bid winners on Friday. Each is required to launch programmes in full by May 25.
A Thaicom source said the satellite operator would soon propose the Thaicom 8 project to its board for approval.
The Telecom Committee, which is also under the NBTC, is still working on the licensing regulations for future satellites, including Thaicom 7 and 8.
It has already held focus group meetings on the draft regulations, which require the providers of satellite signal uplink/downlink services to bid for a spectrum to provide the service.
This conforms to Article 45 of the Frequency Allocation Act, which limits the NBTC to allocating frequencies via auction only.