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Thailand: Accelerating the Formation of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission
Source: thailand.prd.go.th
Source Date: Thursday, November 25, 2010
Country: Thailand
Created: Nov 29, 2010

The Government will accelerate the formation of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), following the passage of the frequency allocation bill in Parliament.

The bill was endorsed by the Senate on November 15 after it was approved by the House of Representatives on November 10. It calls for the establishment of NBTC to supervise the operations of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors and the issuance of licenses for the use of broadcasting and telecommunications frequencies. As a new body to regulate the broadcasting and telecommunications industries, NBTC will replace the existing National Telecommunications Commission.

In fact, NBTC is a combination of the National Broadcasting Commission, which has not been established, and the National Telecommunications Commission, which was set up in 2004 under the Constitution of Thailand.

The bill is being presented to His Majesty the King for royal endorsement before being published in the Royal Gazette and announced as law, which is expected in January 2011. Once the bill becomes law, the Senate will select 11 NBTC commissioners and the process of selection must be completed within 180 days.

The 11 commissioners comprise one expert in radio broadcasting, another in television broadcasting, two experts in telecommunications, two legal experts, two economists, one expert in consumer protection in the field of radio and television broadcasting, another in the field of telecommunications, and one expert in education, culture, or social development.

The term of each commissioner is six years. The first mission of NBCT is to draft a master plan for the management of national frequencies. Public forums will be organized to discuss the master plan, which will be used as a model for frequency allocation in both broadcasting and telecommunication sectors.

Speaking at a seminar on the topic The Roles of State Media and Telecommunications after the Enforcement of the Frequency Allocation Law, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stated that the Government attached great importance to frequency allocation for the maximum benefit of the people and for national security. Organized by the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association and the News Broadcasting Council of Thailand, the seminar took place at the Miracle Grand Convention Hotel in Bangkok on November 18.

The Prime Minister said that the new law also seeks to promote public participation in broadcasting and telecommunications and provides greater protection to consumers.

He stressed the need to speed up the establishment of NBTC to set policy on broadcasting and telecommunications in order to provide the public with greater access to information and communications. NBTC will also handle the issuance of 3G mobile phone licenses and help in the implementation of digital broadcasting in Thailand.
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