By Watchiranont Thongtep
STAT lodged a petition on the matter with the NBTC yesterday.
The USO fund is for research and development into broadcasting and telecommunication services, overseen by the NBTC. Under the draft regulations for the commission’s broadcasting licences, digital terrestrial, satellite and cable TV operators will have to pay at least 2 per cent of their annual gross revenue to support the fund.
STAT president Nipon Naksompop said members of the association had understood that only digital terrestrial TV broadcasters would have to pay into the USO fund as their operations will use radio and television frequencies, which are considered national resources limited to the public interest.
Satellite and cable TV operators are supposed to be categorised as non-frequency-use businesses, so they should not have to pay into this fund, STAT argues. If they are required to do so, they should pay in accordance with their audience penetration.
Nation Broadcasting Corp president Adisak Limprungpatanakij said the NBTC should draw up separate regulations for satellite TV operators and other broadcasters.
Adisak explained that the satellite TV business currently was mixed between free-to-air and subscription-based operations.
To make things clear-cut, the NBTC should design another licence for free-to-air satellite TV operators, separate from licences for satellite TV operators offering pay-TV service, he said.
Supinya Klangnarong, a member of the NBTC broadcasting committee, said the commission would discuss the issue with members of the committee on Monday.