NBTC to meet with Channel 3

Regulators will invite representatives of TV Channel 3 and the operators of 24 digital TV channels to find a solution to Channel 3's broadcasting problem on Wednesday afternoon.

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Col Natee Sukonrat, vice chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the NBTC also agreed at a meeting on Tuesday to ask the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for clarification on its No. 27/2557 order requiring all platforms to carry the signals of free TV channels including Channel 3.

The NBTC resolved to end the free-TV status of six analogue TV channels on Monday to speed up the digital-TV transition.

The implication of the resolution is that since the channels are not free-TV, they are no longer required to be carried by satellite and cable TV operators under the must-carry rule.

Five analogue channels do not have problems with the resolution because they simultaneously broadcast in both analogue and digital platforms (simulcasting) and their digital streams already come under the must-carry rule that all satellite and cable TVs must carry.

But Channel 3 is different. It does not simulcast on the digital platform. With the resolution in effect, the channel will not come under the must-carry rule. Satellite and cable TVs cannot legally carry it either because it does not have a satellite/cable TV licence.

If it wants to comply with the NBTC's rules, Channel 3 is left with two choices: apply with the NBTC to simulcast or apply for a satellite/cable licence so it can air as another channel on the two platforms.

But if Channel 3 and the satellite/cable TV operators is confident of the channel's popularity, they can try carrying the signal after Sept 1, which could put them at risk of being fined or sued by the NBTC later. 

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