A member of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's broadcasting committee will file a proposal to revise the must-carry rule, as its implementation will make network rental rates for digital TV rise rapidly.
Thawatchai Jittrapanun, a broadcasting committee member, said the existing must-carry rule will probably create severe financial burdens for network rental by digital TV operators.
The rule says the network provider must directly provide its service to the service provider without repeating and adjusting programmes for both terrestrial and satellite TV systems. The network provider may offer reasonable network rental fees without discrimination.
The must-carry rule was imposed to protect people's basic rights to watch free TV programmes via any distribution platform such as terrestrial, cable or satellite.
It states the network provider must carry its channels to broadcast on every platform including satellite. Broadcasting both TV systems (terrestrial and satellite) will increase the network rental cost by five times compared with a single terrestrial broadcast.
Moreover, a report by Thaicom Plc, the country's sole satellite service provider, said it has insufficient capacity to provide transponders for the must-carry rule.
"The rule is affecting the broadcasting business, hindering successful digitisation," said Mr Thawatchai.
He said an impractical must-carry rule is also affecting the calculation of starting prices for digital TV licences.
Mr Thawatchai will offer to draft a revised must-carry rule that imposes clearer conditions for network providers.
The NBTC will set a fair price for network rentals that is within the reach of individual channels, he said.
Mr Thawatchai said the limit on digital TV holdings to three channels should be reviewed.
A maximum holding of two channels means there will be a minimum of 21 bidders, while a maximum of three means a minimum of 14 bidders.
About the author
- Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn
Position: Business Reporter