April 22, 2014 00:00
By Usanee Mongkolporn
Consumers will be given four choices to spend the vouchers they will receive from the regulator so that they can watch digital TV.
“We would like to take a balance for all industry to have four options for all nationwide households to allow more choices for everyone to redeem the vouchers,” said Natee Sukolrat, chairman of the Broadcasting Committee, which finalised the four options yesterday.
Households will be able to use the vouchers to buy a digital TV set-top box, satellite TV set-top box or pay TV set-top box, or to get a discount on a purchase of a new digital TV set.
The committee has still not fixed the value of the voucher, but it would not exceed Bt1,200.
The main variable in calculating the voucher’s value is the number of households that will get the free vouchers this year.
“This year, we got a total of Bt12 billion from the auction so we are considering distributing to 10 million or 12 million households,” he said.
If the value is Bt1,200, the vouchers will be distribute to 10 million households .
The committee will meet again tomorrow to decide the voucher’s value and will try to propose it to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission as soon as possible, as the plan to distribute the vouchers to targeted households will end in June or July.
There are 25 million households in Thailand that are targeted to get the vouchers by mail directly to their home.
However, if cable and satellite TV operators want to sell their boxes under this voucher scheme, they would have to apply for an NBTC licence to offer such boxes, said a NBTC source.
They also have to rearrange their channel numbers for terrestrial digital TV according to the committee’s numbering plan, beginning with Channels 1-36. Their boxes must be able to provide both high definition and standard definition digital TV programmes.
Pay TV boxes can also be used to view the digital TV channels, since pay TV operators are required to air analogue and digital TV channels at no charge over their networks under the watchdog’s “must carry” rule.