Broadcasting regulator rejects postponement of instalment payments of auction fees

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The board of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has rejected the request of digital TV operators to postpone the payments of the third instalments of the auction fees scheduled on May 24.

The board which met on Wednesday also turned down the request of digital TV operators to extend the 15-year tenure of their licenses and to exempt the operators of the payments of the remaining instalments in case they want to give up their operating licenses, said NBTC secretary-general Thakorn Tanthasit.

The total payments of the third instalments of auction fees amount to 8.1 billion baht.

Thakorn said the board felt that any change of the term of the contract such as the extension of the license period, the postponement of the instalment payments or the giving up of licenses without paying the rest of the auction fees would cause damage to state and would be unfair to the operators who have fulfilled their payments.

However, Thakorn said that the board allow the operators to postpone instalment payments but they would be subjected to a 7 percent fine of the amount of the instalment and those who refuse to pay up would have their licenses suspended or scrapped depending on the judgement of the broadcasting commission.

Regarding the issue about the change of license operators, the NBTC secretary-general said that the law on frequency management would have to be amended first.