By USANEE MONGKOLPORN
THIRTY-FOUR cable TV operators nationwide have recently submitted a joint application for licences to provide Internet broadband service in an attempt to find a new revenue source amid flat growth of their mainstream service.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will consider awarding the qualified applicants three-year licences within 30 days.
Varin Cholhan, vice president of the Cable Thai Association and managing director of Digital Cable of Phetchabun, said last week that the 34 operators come from many provinces including Phetchabun, Chon Buri and Ubon Ratchathani.
Out of the 350 members of his association, about 100 are equipped to provide broadband Internet service, he said.
“Each is expected to launch the broadband Internet service within five months after obtaining the licence. They’re expected to offer a monthly service fee of Bt590, |the same as the major players,” he said.
The companies are aiming for 30 per cent of their cable TV subscribers to also subscribe to their Internet service and expect to break even within two years.
Initially they plan to lease fibre-optic networks from major telecoms such as CAT Telecom and United Information Highway to provide the new Internet service.
“These cable TV operators already have fibre-optic networks but use them for their broadcasting service.
“If they want to use their networks for broadband Internet service, they might have to ask for an NBTC permit, so they will have to use the fibre-optic networks of major telecoms in the initial phase to provide the broadband Internet service,” he said.