The Royal Thai Army's Channel 5 will spend 3 billion baht to provide a digital terrestrial TV network for other channels in the future.
The station's technical department will file a detailed business plan with the Channel 5 board first before submitting it to the Royal Thai Army, which will consider budget approval.
After that, Channel 5 will file its application with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Committee (NBTC) for all three categories of digital TV: facilities provider, network provider and services provider.
There are at least 40 broadcast towers nationwide preparing to file for licences as facilities providers.
To be a digital network provider, Channel 5 will have 39 main broadcast towers, 50 subordinated towers and 54 telecom-supporting towers nationwide, said technical department director Col Setthasiri Trisaksri.
The station projects it would manage two networks on UHF frequency that would broadcast 16 channels due to economies of scale.
In the first year, Channel 5 will roll out signal transmission covering 55% of the country with 15 main towers and 10 subordinated towers. In the second year it will expand to 80%, before 90% in the third and 95% in the fourth, in line with the NBTC's plan. Additionally, the channel will create eight repair centres for broadcast towers throughout the country.
Yesterday it began its digital broadcast trial in high definition, similar to Thai PBS. Other free channels such as BBTV's Channel 7 and MCOT's Modernine TV broadcast in standard definition.
Gen Chatchai Sarikullaya, director of the Royal Thai Army's Radio and Television, said Channel 5 aims to be a major network provider for other free TV channels during the trial period, which lasts until July.
Channel 5 has set a budget of 60 million baht to distribute 1,000 set-top boxes to selected households in a coverage area 100 kilometres from the country's highest building: Baiyoke Tower 2.
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Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn