NBTC proposes unified telecoms/broadcast licenses

23 Mar 2017

Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is considering moving towards a unified licensing regime for broadcast and telecoms services.

NBTC commissioner Prawit Leesatapornwongsa told the Bangkok Post that the regulator feels that an overhaul is necessary to keep up with the industry trends of convergence and digital innovation.

Without implementing the proposed revamp by 2018, the ambiguity involved with defining services will make it more difficult for policymakers to govern, he said.

At present, operators also providing IPTV services are required to have separate ISP licenses from the regulator's telecoms and broadcasting committees. This requires operators to pay double licensing fees, and these costs are passed on to customers, Prawit noted.

The proposed changes would be timely considering that the draft bill ordering a restructuring of the NBTC itself is set to soon pass parliament.

Under the terms of the proposed bill, the number of NBTC commissioners would be cut from 11 to seven, and each of these commissioners would be responsible for overseeeing both the telecoms and broadcasting sectors.

Prawit also said a clear road map for spectrum allocations must be drawn up to stimulate investments in the sector and help the government meet its Thailand 4.0 policy goals.

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