Mailing of digital-TV coupons OK'd

The military regime has given broadcast regulators the green light to send out nearly 23 million coupons offering discounts on purchases of digital-TV set-top boxes in a program that will cost the country more than 16.2 billion baht.

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National Council for Peace and Order chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha approved the distribution of the 690-baht coupons to 22.9 million families nationwide because the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission had already organised public hearings and appropriately reviewed it, NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said Wednesday.

Mr Takorn also said that the NBTC office would set up committees to select participating suppliers, print and distribute the coupons, and monitor project implementation. Outsiders, including non-governmental organisations, can join the examination committee, he said.

The list of selected set-top box suppliers will be announced Sept 15 with more added every 15 days afterwards. Coupons initially will be delivered by registered mail from Oct 15 to households in Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai, Songkhla, Rayong, Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thani, Sing Buri, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Sukhothai.

People can use the coupons starting Oct 25 and the NBTC plans to distribute them to 11.45 million families by the end of this year.

If all are used, the total value of the coupons will cost the government 15.8 billion baht. Printing will cost 65.25 million baht with coupon stickers and standard-certification stickers costing 34.35 million baht each. Postage will cost 229 million baht, bank fees 12.6 million baht and project management and examination 70 million baht.

Payment for the stickers and the bank fee are passed on to the suppliers that participate in the project.

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