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NTC reviews guidelines on digital TV

By Riza T. Olchondra
Inquirer
First Posted 04:37:00 07/27/2007

Filed Under: Television, Telecommunications Equipment

MANILA, Philippines -- Companies planning to broadcast digital programs to TV sets or mobile devices cannot go commercial yet, as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said it was revisiting its guidelines on digital TV programming.

Sample broadcasts are allowed, however, NTC commissioners said in a briefing after the celebration of the regulator?s 28th anniversary.

?Our technical working group has formulated its initial recommendations. What triggered the review were the industry inputs we got during a public hearing,? NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento said in a briefing.

NTC Commissioner Abraham Abesamis said the technical working group would start its review next week.

Deputy Commissioner Jaime Fortes said the group will try to draft the final rules quickly so that the NTC?s 2015 deadline for the phaseout of analog TV programming will be followed.

Sarmiento added: ?As for mobile TV broadcasts, there are test services now, and some may have the impression that these are already commercial, but they are not. They are just demos.?

He was alluding to the broadcasts offered by Smart Communications Inc. and sister company MediaQuest for its myTV offering.

Subscribers are not yet being billed for the service, which has 10 test channels: CNN, MTV Philippines, Cartoon Network, National Geographic Channel, Pinoy Box Office, History Channel, Solar Sports, Basketball TV, ETC and Jack TV.

Philippine Basketball Association games will also be broadcast live starting next season.

When the offering goes commercial, pre-paid and post-paid subscribers will be charged P488 a month.

The NTC officials also said that the commission?s collection was expected to improve slightly this year.

Abesamis explained that the regulator does not want to increase fees charged the telecom companies to help keep costs down for consumers.

He also said NTC could not raise regulatory fees without the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority.



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