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Asia Internet Coalition warns against regulation of OTT content

Jun 29. 2017
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The Asia Internet Coalition has warned the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) that its move to regulate over-the-top (OTT) business could be detrimental to Thailand, stoke business uncertainty, slow economic growth and dampen investment in the country’s growing digital industry.

“The rules could also prevent millions of Thai people and enterprises from using open global platforms to build their businesses online. We are also concerned that the rules may be at odds with Thailand’s international agreements,” the AIC said in a statement released on Thursday.

OTT is the delivery of content such as films and TV programmes via the Internet, either free or for a charge.

The AIC is an industry association promoting the understanding and resolutions of Internet policy issues in the Asia-Pacific region, with tech giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo among its members.

AIC managing director Jeff Paine expressed the group’s concerns in writing to Thares Punsri, chairman of the NBTC, and Natee Sukonrat, chairman of its subcommittee on OTT policy on Thursday.

The AIC said it welcomed constructive engagement with Thai authorities on OTT regulation. However, the NBTC has not made any of its draft OTT regulations public.

Generally, the NBTC’s proposal for OTT regulation appears to disadvantage Thai consumers and content creators uniquely compared with many other countries. The proposed regulation would also hinder the government’s “Thailand 4.0” ambitions, it said.

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