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Auction of Thai digital TV spectrum delayed
Publication Date : 19-02-2013
The auction of the spectrum for 24 digital-commercial television channels may be delayed to the fourth quarter this year from the original date in August as the public-hearing process on related regulations may take time, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said.
Yesterday, the NBTC board approved the draft rules on spectrum selection for digital-TV broadcasting after NBTC broadcasting committee had revised it. The draft will undergo public hearing later.
Under this rule, the NBTC broadcasting panel needs to hold a public hearing on another draft rule that will include key details to be detailed in the Information Memorandum (IM), including the bidder's specifications, frequency plan, starting bid price and other conditions. This rule is being drafted.
In addition, the broadcasting panel had earlier proposed that the IM for the spectrum auction should be announced by the NBTC in order to meet the original plan by skipping the public-hearing process. However, the NBTC ordered the broadcasting panel to announce the IM instead of public participation.
"Though this process may take longer, we hope that the spectrum auction could begin by the end of this year," Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said yesterday.
Natee added that his panel had endorsed DVB-T2 version 1.2.1 and a more advanced version as the standard for digital TV receivers. DVB-T2 stands for digital-video broadcasting second-generation terrestrial.
He explained that NBTC had chosen this option because digital TV receivers of this version were being widely used so its price was affordable.
To promote this standard, the NBTC Office will hold an industry forum for manufacturers and distributors of digital TV sets and digital converter boxes on February 27.
However, though the NBTC has endorsed this standard for the industry, neither distributors nor manufacturers of digital TV receivers are allowed to sell it in the market, Natee said.
If the NBTC finds that a company has violated this restriction, they will face five years in jail or a 100,000 baht (US$3,300) fine or both under the Communication Radio Act BE 2498 (1995).
Additionally, the NBTC revealed that during the simulcast period, private TV broadcasters, namely BEC's Thai TV3 and BBTV Channel 7, need to pay 2 per cent of their total income in annual fees to the NBTC.
Natee said NBTC planned to issue analogue TV licences to private TV broadcasters by the end of this year.