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NBTC to issue new rules on TV channel-numbering (Tha Nation)

26-08-2014

NBTC to issue new rules on TV channel-numbering (The Nation)

The broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) plans new regulations governing TV channel-numbering arrangements, which will apply to the terrestrial digital, cable, and satellite platforms.

Under the existing regulations, cable and satellite companies arrange channels 1 to 10 according to their own preferences, followed by 36 terrestrial digital channels. The new rules will require all TV platforms to begin with 12 public digital channels, followed by 24 commercial digital TV channels. How channels 37 to 60 are arranged will be up to the TV operators.

Under the new regulations, the first channel on all platforms will be Channel 5.

Natee Sukonrat, chairman of broadcasting committee, said the NBTC would hold a public hearing on the new regulations, which are expected to go into effect within three months.

The new regulations are expected to affect the placement of Channel 3, an analog channel operated by Bangkok Entertainment Co (BEC). Currently pay-TV platforms place the popular channel within the 1-10 range.

Meanwhile, the broadcasting committee yesterday said it would cite the 27th announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order issued on May 24 to allow satellite and cable TV operators to continue carrying analog TV 3 programmes after the deadline to drop the channel on September 1.

The September deadline was extended from May 25 when the NBTC's new definition of free TV channels took effect.

According to NCPO announcement on May 24, cable and satellite TV operators should be allowed to continue running programmes as usual.

On February 9, the NBTC redefined "free TV" as that aired on the new digital terrestrial platform, which meant that Channel 3's analog programming would be removed from pay-TV line-ups after May 25. BEC sued in the Central Administrative Court, which agreed to consider the complaint but denied a request for an injunction against the NBTC. The commission later extended the deadline to September 1.

The original redefinition of "free TV" was the NBTC's attempt to move the country quickly into the digital era. The new definition is part of NBTC's "must carry" rule, which obligates pay-TV platforms to carry free-TV programmes.

BEC operates Channel 3 under an MCOT concession, which will expire in March 2020. Its sister company BEC Multimedia runs three terrestrial digital TV channels