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TV, telecom industries hurt by delay in appointing new NBTC members, say digital broadcasters

Thailand’s digital television broadcasters have urged the government to appoint new National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) members quickly to avoid “dead air” at NBTC and further delays to bidding for the 3,500MHz frequency for the 5G network.

The NBTC has been preparing for the 3,500MHz licence auction since early 2020.

“The Senate meeting voted in five new NBTC commissioners in December, but this list has yet to be presented to the King for royal appointment,” said Suphab Kleekachai, Association of Digital Television Broadcasting president, on Friday.

He said delay in appointing the commissioners could affect NBTC’s ability to make decisions on the television and telecommunication industries.

“Operators are also waiting for new policies to be announced so they can plan their business strategy accordingly,” he added.

The five new NBTC board members elected by the Senate are Air Marshal Thanaphan Raijaroen, Prof Pirongrong Ramasoota, Prof Sorana Boonbaichaipreug, Torpong Selanon, and Asst Prof Suphat Suphatchalasai.

“The association also wants the NBTC to announce bidding regulations for 3,500MHz frequency as soon as possible,” Suphab added.

“The 3,500MHz frequency is vital to the 5G system but could affect the frequency of C Band satellite and therefore might force digital TV viewers nationwide to buy new equipment. This issue needs to be regulated by NBTC immediately.”

The new NBTC commissioners would also need to study the impact on the telecom market of the merger of two telecom giants, True and Dtac, and issue appropriate regulations to protect customers, Suphab added.

Published : February 19, 2022