34 regional Thai cable TV network operators have submitted a joint application for broadband internet operating licences. The National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is considering the award of three-year licences to qualified applicants, with a decision due in 30 days, The Nation reports. The 34 pay-TV operators hail from provinces across the country such as Phetchabun, Chon Buri and Ubon Ratchathani, confirmed Varin Cholhan, vice president of the Cable Thai Association and managing director of Digital Cable of Phetchabun, who added that of the 350 association members, around 100 are equipped to provide broadband internet but currently use their fibre-optic networks solely for broadcasting. He continued: ‘Each [of the 34 applicants] is expected to launch the broadband internet service within five months after obtaining the licence. They’re expected to offer a monthly service fee of THB590 (USD16.75), the same as the major players.’ The Nation’s report added that the small cablecos are seeking new revenue streams amid flat growth of their core TV services, and are aiming for 30% of their CATV subscribers to sign up to broadband under a breakeven target timeframe of two years. They plan to lease additional fibre transmission capacity from large wholesale telecoms providers including CAT Telecom and United Information Highway (UIH).
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