NBTC To Change Licensing Regime For Operators Using Foreign Satellites

NBTC commissioner

By John Tanner

Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has cleared the way for a new licensing regime that will require operators wanting to use foreign satellites to offer services to apply for three licences instead of one.

Under the existing regime, companies who want to operate through a foreign satellite only have to apply for a gateway licence. Only local companies or joint ventures with at least 51 per cent ownership by a Thai company are eligible to apply.

According to the Bangkok Post, the new draft rules split the current system into three separate licence categories for gateway station facilities, landing rights for uplink and downlink satellite signals, and commercial services.

That means operators of foreign satellite services will have to successfully apply for all three licences, the report said. The 51 per cent rule for JVs will apply to all three licences.

NBTC commissioner AM Thanapant Raicharoen told the Post that the new rules not only align with Thailand’s space economy development, but will help the telecoms sector prepare for the complex ecosystem of global LEO satellite broadband services that are planned to come online in the next few years.

With the draft rules approved by the NBTC board, the new licensing regime is expected to kick in sometime early next year.

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