Digital Ministry and NBTC to meet in bid to thrash out Thaicom issue

Corporate February 27, 2017 01:00

By THE NATION

THE DIGITAL Economy and Society Ministry will discuss |with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) the |Thaicom regulatory issue, |according to Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj.



He added that if the ministry and Thaicom had yet to reach a conclusion on what to do with Thaicom 7 and 8 broadcasting satellites, the satellite operator should not go ahead with its plan to develop the Thaicom 9 broadband satellite.

Intouch Holdings chief |executive officer Philip Chen Chong Tan said last week that both the ministry and Thaicom should completely clear up |regulatory issues by next quarter so Thaicom would know if it |could go ahead with the plan to launch its Thaicom 9 satellite. Otherwise Thaicom might |lease transponder capacity |from other satellites to continue providing satellite services, he said. 

Thaicom, 41.1 per cent owned by Intouch, has been talking with the ministry for more than two years about the ministry’s proposal to bring the company’s Thaicom 7 and 8 broadcasting satellites under its concession regime as part of its reform of the satellite service industry. 

Counter-proposals

The two satellites currently operate under the NBTC’s licensing regime.

Thaicom has counter-proposed joining with CAT Telecom to develop Thaicom 9.

Thaicom has also proposed to the ministry that it would allow the government to use one transponder from each of its existing licensed satellites and also its future licensed satellites free of charge for the rest of their life spans.

The ministry commissioned Chula Unisearch to study how to reform the satellite service industry. The study recommended bringing Thaicom’s two licensed satellites – 7 and 8 – back under the ministry’s concession regime. Both satellites will be under a concession until it expires in 2021. 

The ministry oversaw the satellite industry by granting concessions before the NBTC got off the ground in 2000 and granted licences for Thaicoms 7 and 8. This led to the ministry’s redundancy in overseeing the satellite industry.

In a separate matter, the ministry plans to seek a collaboration with the China Academy of Science on space affairs and the Internet of Things.