Prices set for digital TV licences, converter box subsidies

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday approved starting prices for digital TV licences in a wide range from 140 million to 1.51 billion baht.

A coupon subsidy for converting set-top boxes was roughly set at 690 baht per household.

Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said licences for high-definition (HD) channels will start from 1.51 billion baht, while licences for variety channels with standard definition (SD) start from 380 million baht.

Licences for news channels start from 220 million baht, while licences for children's channels start from 140 million baht.

The NBTC is set to have 24 channels for commercial purposes. Three will be for children, with seven each for news, variety and HD channels.

Income from the auctions of commercial channels will total 15.19 billion baht.

Chulalongkorn University, which has advised NBTC, has three price structures for commercial channels based on three assumptions _ business plans, economic models and opportunity cost.

"We choose the prices based on business plans that reflect the real value of the Thai broadcasting industry," said Col Natee.

However, the reserve price _ the lowest price the auction organiser expects _ will be similar to the starting price.

Initially, the coupon subsidy will be set at a minimum of 690 baht, which was calculated from the total auction income divided by 22 million Thai households.

But the value of the coupon may increase after the consideration of the universal service obligation fund committee.

The starting prices will be added to a new draft regulation on the method of digital TV auctions and will have a public hearing in June.

The draft will have auction details such as the increased value in each round of bidding.

About the author

Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn
Position: Business Reporter