Thu, Jul 23, 2009 - Page 4 News List

NCC fails to decide on the duration of operating licenses

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday failed to reach a consensus on the number of years terrestrial radio and TV service operators can hold licenses before being required to seek renewal.

“The issue is very complicated and involves many aspects,” NCC spokesperson Lee Ta-sung (李大嵩) said. “But we should be able to achieve results on the question before the end of summer.”

The commission was initially scheduled to reach a decision on the amendment of the Broadcasting and Television Act (廣播電視法) that would include “auctions” and “public bidding” as means to grant operating licenses for terrestrial service operators. However, the commission could not agree on whether it should simultaneously extend the duration of licenses.

It also failed to reach an agreement on whether the same requirement should apply to radio and TV operators.

At present, the act only states that the licenses may be granted to service operators after they pass a review of the administrative authority in charge. The act also allows service operators to hold a license for six years before they are required to renew it.

The Government Information Office (GIO) used to issue operating licenses, but the manner in which it issued licenses was changed by the Control Yuan in 2002 on the grounds that it contradicted the Budget Act (預算法).

The GIO turned its license renewal authority over to the NCC, which answers to the Control Yuan. In January, the commission held a hearing on amending the act. TV operators said their operational costs were higher than those of radio operators and that all intended to continue operations.

Some TV operators are about to renew their licenses, while others have just acquired ownership of terrestrial TV services. Operators said they had concerns about what the government would do to help them meet new regulations.

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