Fri, Jan 22, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Commission to issue radio licenses

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said that it is scheduled to issue 36 radio licenses this year, adding that small stations are encouraged to upgrade to their service by bidding for national or regional licenses.

Commission spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said that the licenses could be issued in the second half of this year.

“We have several ways of issuing the licenses, while the new government that was elected on Saturday might also have different suggestions,” Yu said, adding that the commission is not likely to release the licenses before May 20, when president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is to be sworn into office.

The commission said it is to issue three licenses for national radio broadcasters, nine FM broadcasting licenses for regional radio service providers and 24 licenses for small community radio operators.

Two of the national radio broadcasting licenses are reserved for the Hakka Affairs Council and Council of the Indigenous Peoples following a review of their qualifications, leaving only one license for an interested non-government bidder.

Among the 24 licenses to be issued among small community operators, 22 are FM licenses and two are AM licenses. Those interested in gaining national or regional licenses would be subject to a qualification review before they can participate in the auction for such licenses, while those planning to acquire small community licenses must also undergo a qualification review before they enter a free draw, the commission said.

Current operators are not allowed to acquire the same licenses as they have at the moment, with the commission encouraging current operators to upgrade their services by bidding for national or regional licenses. They can then return the frequencies they are using after they acquire their new licenses and the government can gather these previously used frequencies for auction next time, the commission added.

The minimum capital requirement is NT$200 million (US$5.91 million) for national broadcasters, NT$30 million for regional broadcasters, NT$3 million for FM community operators and NT$9 million for those obtaining an AM community license.

In addition, the commission is seeking public opinion on whether national radio broadcasters should be given the right to construct the facilities in different phases and be given minimum service coverage requirements in different phases.

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