Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) will launch digital broadcasting trials in Bangkok next week after getting the nod from regulators yesterday.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) granted a six-month trial to Thai PBS to broadcast high-definition programming via the digital terrestrial TV system.
Last month, the NBTC granted permission to three groups to provide digital TV trials - the Royal Thai Army, which runs TV5; MCOT Plc, which runs Modernine TV; and the Public Relations Department, which runs Channel 11.
"Thai PBS will begin our digital TV trials on Jan 25 and run them for six months together with Channel 5, operated by the Royal Thai Army," said managing director Somchai Suwanban.
Thai PBS will provide set-top boxes to 1,000 households in Bangkok.
Col Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said the trial agreement was part of the industry's digital transition plan.
"We want Thais to be able to view digital TV for public-service purposes by April," he said.
Mr Somchai said Thai PBS is ready for the digital transition with its 35 main broadcast towers and five subordinate towers installed nationwide.
He said Thai PBS will apply for a network provider licence and a public-service channel licence once the NBTC begins issuing licences.
"We plan to spend up to 1.5 billion baht under a two-year plan," said Mr Somchai. "If we get a network provider licence, then we'll roll out our digital broadcasting network covering 100% of the population within two years."
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Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn