BROADCASTING & TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) set a date of Dec 5 for the first digital TV broadcast in Greater Bangkok.
The NBTC yesterday awarded network-provider licences to five networks. From left: Somchai Suwarnban from Thai PBS, Apinan Chantharangsi from Channel 11, Col Kraisorn Srisuk from Channel 5 and Anek Permwongsenee from Channel 9. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN
Col Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the broadcasting committee, said signals of 36 digital TV channels for commercial and public purposes will air on His Majesty the King's 86th birthday.
About 50% of Thai households will be able to watch digital TV channels in its first broadcast year. The coverage area in the first year will include Greater Bangkok and nearby provinces before increasing to 80% of the country in the second year, 90% in the third year and over 95% in the fourth year.
NBTC will award network provider licences on the same date to existing free TV channels such as MCOT Plc, the operator of Modernine TV, the Public Relations Department, which runs Channel 11, the Royal Thai Army, the operator of Channel 5, and state public TV Thai PBS.
"We want digital TV network providers to share basic infrastructures in order to reduce duplicated investment," said Col Natee.
The network rental cost will be announced within 30 days before the auction is organised in October as broadcasters will factor it in to their decision to bid. The network rental cost may vary to promote competition.
Anek Permvongseni, president of MCOT, said the station aims to expand its network to cover at least 95% of the country in three years. It is waiting to form a consortium with the other two network operators, after which the firm can set lower network rental fees because of lower operation costs.
Thai PBS aims to expand its network coverage to 95% of the country within two years. The public TV station wants to provide digital TV channels for public and community purposes.
NBTC introduced a mascot, Doo-D, yesterday to increase awareness about digital TV, a challenge for the Thai broadcasting industry. Doo-D will deliver messages about digital TV to Thais and aims to promote consumer participation during the digital transition.
About the author
- Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn
Position: Business Reporter