The Executive Council (ExCo) announced on Friday that it has completed discussing a by-law, which regulates the operation of a company which will be fully funded by the government for the transmission of “basic TV channels”.
According to the announcement by the chief executive’s top advisory body, the government expects to spend about 10 million patacas during the company’s first year of operation.
ExCo spokesman Leong Heng Teng, Telecommunications Regulation Bureau (DRST) Acting Director Hoi Chi Leong and Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ) Director Cheong Weng Chon co-presided over a press conference on Friday to announce the by-law’s details.
The by-law will take effect on the day after its promulgation when the company will be set up concurrently. By-laws are administrative regulations enacted by the government that do not require the legislature’s approval.
According to the by-law, the shareholders of “Macau Basic Television Channels, Limited” are the government, government-owned broadcaster TDM and the Macau Post Office. The board of directors will have three members with one of them being the chairperson. The company’s initial operating period will be two years which can be extended. Its first-year operational cost is expected to be about 10 million patacas, according to Friday’s press conference.
Addressing the press conference, Hoi said that the 10 million patacas will be spent on equipment and maintenance, insisting that that the establishment of the company was the “best” solution, which – according to Hoi – protects residents’ right to access free-to-air TV channels.
The government announced previously the setting up of the company tasked with the transmission of about 40 “basic TV channels” after April 21. The transmission is currently the responsibility of privately owned Macau Cable TV (MCTV).
MCTV’s monopoly concession expires on April 21.
According to the government, the about 40 channels are classified as “basic TV channels”.
Currently, MCTV is the only company legally allowed to transmit pay-TV channels in Macau. MCTV is also the only company transmitting the signals of about 40 free-to-air TV channels after a controversial deal was signed between the city’s antenna service providers and MCTV in August last year, which will expire on April 21. The deal inked between the communal antenna service providers and MCTV came in the wake of an MCTV court case which confirmed its monopoly concession.
The deal was brokered by the government after a court ruling in June demanded that the government finally had to come up with measures to guarantee the implementation of MCTV’s monopoly, based on a deal signed with the city’s then Portuguese administration shortly before the December 1999 establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR). Under the deal, all the city’s 14 communal antenna providers were told to stop transmitting any TV signals with the exception of the about 40 channels covered by their deal with MCTV.
After April 21, the government fully-funded TV company will use the city’s antenna providers’ networks to transmit the