In recent months, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has made considerable efforts to regulate Over-The-Top or OTT service in Thailand. After holding several seminars with various stakeholders, the NBTC and the Broadcasting Commission issued board resolutions and OTT registration forms aimed at regulating OTT services. At first, the OTT service providers, both onshore and offshore, were required to register with the NBTC by 22 July 2017. The OTT service providers can register by themselves or have their agents register on their behalf, but the registrant must be located or have a business presence in Thailand throughout the period of the provision of the service in Thailand. The NBTC viewed that non-compliance with the registration requirement could be deemed operating a broadcasting business without a license in Thailand and could be subject to criminal penalties.

After that, from news, on 5 July 2017, the NBTC issued another board resolution, revoking the registration process and assigning the OTT subcommittee to draft an OTT notification within 30 days. Once approved by the NBTC board, the draft OTT notification will be opened for public hearing. Next, the draft notification may then be revised to reflect the comments from the public hearing. Following that, the revised notification will be submitted to the NBTC board for approval and publication in the Royal Gazette, after which it will become effective. The whole process should be completed in 90 days.

In this regard, the deadline to register with the NBTC has been postponed until the new notification is issued.

For your background on this matter, the NBTC previously requested OTT service providers under the following definitions, onshore and offshore, to register with the NBTC.

  1. "OTT Broadcasting Service Provider" means an operator who transmits news or programs, which is sound or images and sound to the public, using Thai language or any other symbols which Thai people can understand in the manner of using Thai language or Thailand-related contents, via other networks, which are not broadcasting networks, to receivers in Thailand, to which the public constantly pays attention or that influences the public's perception and which may significantly affect the public order or good morals or national security.
  2. "OTT Broadcasting Network Service Provider" means a provider who connects or broadcasts signals of sound or images of the OTT service providers to equipment that can receive signals by means of signal connection via wire, frequency, optical, electromagnetic, or any other medium that is popular and widely-used among the public, or the connecting or signal broadcasting systems of sound or images that affect the public's perception and which may significantly affect public order or good morals or national security.

It should be noted that it is questionable whether the NBTC has the authority, under existing legislation, to regulate OTT service, require registration, or issue an OTT notification.