April 04, 2014 00:00 By Usanee Mongkolporn
The board of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research and Development Fund for the Public Interest has agreed to free voucher worth Bt1,200 for all households to buy a digital TV set-top box and antenna, according to a source at the National Broad
The board discussed the voucher amount on Wednesday. The amount was proposed for the board’s consideration by the NBTC’s broadcasting committee.
It is the R&D fund that the watchdog will use to fund the voucher.
The R&D fund’s board will discuss the amount again before submitting their conclusions to the NBTC board for consideration. The NBTC board will then officially announce the amount of the voucher.
The source added that the voucher value had to be enough to cover both boxes and antennas, as 40 per cent of around 25 million households have only conventional TV antennas while 60 per cent have satellite dishes and set-top boxes.
The average price of a box and antenna is Bt1,800, but the source says the price is expected to go down once the vouchers are distributed to households. The source added that 5 per cent of 25 million households would have to use the vouchers to buy a satellite dish and box instead of an antenna and box in order to access digital TV programmes, as they live outside the digital TV network coverage.
It is expected the NBTC will start mailing the vouchers to households in 11 provinces in June.
Digital TV network operators have already test-run their network services by airing programmes of holders of licences for digital TV channels.
The broadcasting committee will officially grant the commercial licenses to all 24 channels on April 25 and they have to launch by May 25.