The National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday it would ask multiple-service operator Kbro for a briefing on a mechanism it has used to ensure that all channels have equal opportunities to be included in its cable television services.
The decision was made during the commission’s review of Kbro’s application to change its channel lineups in the 14 cable television services it owns. While Kbro’s application for most of the changes was approved, the NCC held out home shopping channels for further discussion.
Kbro plans to replace channels owned by Eastern Home Shopping & Leisure Co (EHS) with those of U-Life. Media regulations require cable television operators to first apply for permission from the commission for such a change.
However, Kbro’s decision angered EHS.
Earlier this year, EHS requested the commission intervene in the dispute, but it refused to do so. EHS said the Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) had requested consumer protection officials at the local government level investigate if the change could affect EHS customers’ interests. The home shopping network operator accused the NCC of violating administrative procedures because the CPC has yet to deliver any official results of its investigation.
EHS said the NCC should release all the information it has used in its review of the case.
However, EHS never signed a contract with Kbro, according to U-Life, adding that EHS had used every means possible to petition or protest and insisted it should not be replaced.
NCC acting spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said Kbro had promised the NCC that it would not unify cable TV operators for a joint boycott of any channel when it merged with Dafu Media in 2010. Kbro also agreed not to give preferential treatment to satellite television channels it owns or foreign channels for which it serves as an agent, Wong added.
“Even though the Fair Trade Commission has determined that Kbro did not violate these two provisions, we think Kbro needs to explain how they will ensure that consumers’ rights would be preserved if the replacement is approved,” Wong said.