Broadcasting authority says there’s no money due to the government
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will spend 5.46 billion baht as its operating budget for 2014 according to the secretary-general of its board, Thakorn Tantasit.
This will mean there will be no regulatory revenue passed on to the central government, as required by the Frequency Allocation Act. This legislation requires the NBTC to transfer any regulatory revenue after overall expenses are deducted.
Of the 5.46 billion baht budget for 2014, 3.46 billion baht will go in administrative expenditure and 1.79 billion baht will be used for new investment.
The secretary-general stated the NBTC has substantial operating costs because of its involvement in both the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors (in the latter case, of course, it oversees the operations of the big three mobile phone operators, AIS, True Move, and Total Access Communication).
In 2014 there is a plan to establish a new headquarters in Bangkok, so a reasonable part of the 1.79 billion baht budget will be allocated to this task.
Mr Thakorn also said 40 million baht will be used for research and development in the telecom and broadcasting fields, 10 million baht has been allocated for a technology development fund supporting education, and 30 million baht has been set aside for emergencies.
In 2013 the Senate established a five-member Superboard, a committee that was meant to supervise and assess the performances of the NBTC’s commissioners. The budget for this, totalling 170 million baht, has yet to be approved by the board of the NBTC.
Of this amount, 110 million baht is meant for operating costs while another 50 million baht is to be used to hire advisers to monitor the NBTC’s performance within the television, radio, and telecoms arenas as well as how it deals with consumers and their rights.
Mr Thakorn said the NBTC intends to spend 75.5 million baht in setting up a remote-control radio-monitoring station which is designed to trace illegal signal interference. Additionally, the secretary-general said a further 79.2 million baht will be spent in purchasing and properly equipping five specialist vehicles which can be used to trace what is a bothersome interference to broadcasting signals.
The NBTC had been allotted 3.8 billion baht for expenditure for its 2013 budget but only used 3.2 billion baht, remitting the savings, after deducting expenses, to the governments’ coffers.
This year, based on the allocations made in 2013, the expenditure budget has only increased by just 260 million baht, and so the NBTC fully expects that at the end of 2014 it will have fully allocated those funds and no leftover monies will need to be remitted to the state.