Bangkok Post

Ten questions the NBTC still needs to answer


The National Broadcasti­ng Telecommun­ications Commission’s (NBTC) conduct over the use of the 1800 MHz spectrum has left many observers, including me, in disbelief. First, the telecommun­ications committee of the NBTC (hereafter the ‘‘committee’’) agreed to extend the use of the 1800 MHz frequency spectrum for True Move and DPC for another year, in effect extending the concession­s of the two operators, without subjecting them to a competitiv­e auction.

Second, the committee has also filed defamation cases against Duenden Nikomborir­ak, the TDRI’s research director, and Nattha Komolvadhi­n, ThaiPBS’s anchor, when they dared to comment on the committee’s decision.

Although the committee has the right to file a defamation case, its decision has raised calls for the NBTC to be more accountabl­e and answerable to the public.

During a press conference held earlier this month, I put forward 10 questions about the matter which I believe the committee should answer.

Subsequent­ly, the NBTC published a long-winded explanatio­n on its website which it has given before. These explanatio­ns did not address my concerns in a straightfo­rward manner.

One comment said ‘‘the 10 questions raised are old issues which present only one-sided informatio­n’’ and ‘‘if the committee answers those 10 questions, the public will be even more confused’’.

The NBTC has also accused me of ‘‘trying to distract from the real issue’’.

I was taken by surprise by the response from the NBTC’s office because it signals that even posing questions to this public body is no longer acceptable and should not be done under any circumstan­ces.

The dispute over the 1800 MHz spectrum concession­s is an important public issue. Many observers — not just myself and the TDRI’s other researcher­s — have questioned the legality and appropriat­eness of the decision.

Many legal experts, academics, members of the media and various civil society groups have expressed the view through social media that they, too, disagree with the decision.

In my opinion, the NBTC office and the committee — which are funded by public money and remunerate­d by telecom consumers’ money — should address the issue rather than blame

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