Regulator will submit acts
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) plans to submit two broadcasting-related acts to the Council of State for interpretation after encountering conflicts over annual fees collected from TV broadcasters.
TV broadcasters are worried that unclear regulations may eventually affect their operating costs.
The two acts are the Broadcasting Act and the Frequency Allocation Act.
The former says annual fees can be waived under the consideration of the regulator's broadcasting committee.
The latter one states that commissioners have a duty to collect annual fees.
Commissioner Supinya Klangnarong of the broadcasting committee said two legal advisers had already interpreted both acts, but their opinions differed.
At the same time, Channel 7 operator Bangkok Broadcasting and Television Co (BBTV) filed a lawsuit with the Central Administrative Court in June seeking clarification from the NBTC about annual fee payments for both analogue and digital TV licences.
Channels 3, 7, 5, 9 and 11 and Thai PBS were granted licences to operate analogue TV channels. Among them, Channels 3, 7 and 9 also have digital TV licences.
This means the three operators bear heavier burdens, as they must pay a 2% annual fee from revenue before taxes and expenses for digital TV licences.
BBTV said it would pay its annual fee for digital TV to the NBTC but did not want to pay the analogue TV concession fee to the the Royal Thai Army. Its concession will expire in 2022.
Analogue Channel 7 has already done a simulcast broadcast.
The Channel 7 case is a new issue for the regulator to solve after a major dispute of Channel 3 operator BEC World two months ago.
Channel 3 did not want to migrate its analogue content to air on the digital platform, as it was not confident about the acceptance of digital TV among viewers.
Ms Supinya said if the Council of State made an interpretation that the broadcasters must pay annual fees via the analogue system, the NBTC would seek a win-win solution to lower financial burdens for them such as an annual fee reduction.