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Dilemma over what to do with two satellite slots


THE MINISTRY of Digital Economy and Society has met with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to discuss how to deal with the expiration of the country’s reservation of two satellite orbits at the end of this year.

Wilailuck Chulewatanakul, the MDE’s permanent-secretary, reportedly rushed to discuss the issue of what to do with slots 51 degrees east and 142 degrees east with the watchdog after learning that the reservation of the two orbital slots will expire at the end of December. Wilailuck could not be reached for a comment. 
An NBTC source said that the ministry was concerned that if it failed to retain the reservation, it might face criticism for failing to protect the national interest.
Article 60 of this year’s draft constitution indicates that the government has a duty to maintain the spectra and rights for orbital slots.
However, the NBTC source added that the ministry might have no need to retain the slots as they were unused. There is also no sign that there will be a new satellite operator applying for the country’s satellite operation licence and use either of the two slots. 
The source said that a newcomer may not come forward to request the licence as the ministry had not yet started its plan to reform the satellite service industry.
Earlier the ministry said that it wanted to bring Thaicom’s two licensed satellites, Thaicom 7 and 8, into the ministry’s concession regime as part of the reform. Thaicom currently has five satellites in operation: the Thaicom 4 (IPSTAR) broadband satellite and the Thaicom 5, 6, 7 and 8 broadcasting satellites. 
Thaicom 4, 5 and 6 operate under the ministry’s concession regime, while the other two fall under the NBTC licensing regime. Currently Thaicom use the 78.5-degree east slot for Thaicom 5, 6 and 8; the 119.5-degree east slot for Thaicom 4; and the 120-degree east slot for Thaicom 7. 
 

Published : December 18, 2016

By : USANEE MONGKOLPORN THE NATION