Tue, Jan 06, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Commission to hold hearing on new broadcast licenses

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Communications Commission (NCC) is scheduled to hold its first hearing today on the release of new broadcasting licenses for radio service operators.

The hearing is significant, as it will mark the first time the nation has released new broadcasting licenses since 2000.

It will also be the first time the commission will handle the release of broadcasting licenses. In the past, licenses were distributed by the Government Information Office.

NEW PLAYERS

Based on the NCC’s plan, 37 medium power frequencies (92MHz to 104MHz) and 10 low power frequencies (88MHz to 92MHz) will be opened to new market players.

The government will withdraw two frequencies from the Broadcasting Corporation of China (中廣) that were originally intended for the broadcast of anti-communist propaganda approved by the government.

One of the two frequencies is a medium power station, which will be opened to applications. The other is a high power station, which will be used for a public and non-profit radio station and will not be open to bidders.

ILLEGAL

The hearing is expected to attract parties interested in operating radio services, particularly underground radio stations seeking to become legal by having state-assigned frequencies.

Owners of illegal radio stations have protested for years, claiming they had been discriminated against when applying for new operating licenses.

To avoid future controversy, the NCC hopes to address several issues before it allows interested players to start applying for the new licenses.

They include whether licenses should be given strictly based on the results of a qualification review or by public auction.

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