NBTC orders cable conduit lease do-over

NBTC orders cable conduit lease do-over

The telecom regulator has ordered city hall’s business arm Krungthep Thanakom (KT) to repeat the process of seeking operators to lease underground cable conduits, saying the previous document asking for expressions of interest to join the scheme may have caused misunderstandings.

The National Digital Economy and Society Committee earlier approved the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s (BMA) decision, through wholly owned subsidiary KT, to move ahead with the underground cable conduit project in Bangkok.

KT then wrote to more than 20 telecom operators, inviting them to lease the conduits, but only True Corporation expressed interest. The document sent to these operators is known as a request for proposal (RFP).

Last Friday, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) held a meeting with KT and True to discuss the project.

An NBTC source who requested anonymity said a letter sent by the telecom regulator to the KT president on Monday indicated the agency was informed by KT representatives in the meeting that KT aims to proceed with the project for the maximum public benefit.

KT explained the RFP was disseminated to gauge demand for conduit volume from operators, the source said.

The NBTC stated the operators may have misunderstood and treated the RFP as a binding document, obliging them to make lease contracts.

“This may have caused licensed operators to refrain from expressing interest in joining the scheme,” the NBTC letter read.

According to the NBTC’s letter, the move may have caused broad public misunderstanding.

To pursue the project with transparency, rationale and fairness, the NBTC wants “KT to consider scrapping the previous process and renewing it”.

The NBTC pointed out it wants KT to write to operators again to seek demand for conduits.

The regulator indicated KT must treat all the operators who seek to use the conduits equally.

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