NBTC to begin screen Tantasith replacement

By:
Natalie Bannerman
Published on:

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, Thailand's regulator, is in the process of screening candidates to replace current secretary-general Takorn Tantasith

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is due to begin screening its replacement for existing secretary-general Takorn Tantasith.

Tantasith is stepping down from his position to join the Election Commission (EC) and there are currently four deputy secretary-generals any of which are the preferred successors to for the role. 

Trairat Viriyasirikul, is responsible for strategic and internal affairs; Thanapant Raicharoen, who directs regional and spectrum management; Pakdee Manaves, is in charge of broadcasting regulatory management; and Korkij Danchaivichit, is responsible for telecom regulatory management, 

An acting secretary-general must be chosen by January 2018 because it at that time that the EC will receive official approval by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). Earlier this month the EC selected 15 candidates by the final stage only 5 candidates remained including Tantasith, who were deemed qualified enough for the job. The Supreme Court are said to be adding the final two candidates to serve on the seven-seat EC.

Candidates for the EC must be approved by 125 members of the NLA and once selected they must resign from their current position 15 days after being approved.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, a source close to the proceedings said that in the role of acting secretary-general: "Balancing the benefits of certain policies and having the audacity to implement unexpected and urgent measures, like the banning of new illicit websites or social media, are essential for the job."

When Tantasith himself was questioned on who best to fill the vacancy he replied: "It's too early to say."

During his time at the NBTC, Tantasith saw the regulator through a number of large projects including the auction of its 3G licences in 2012, the 4G licence bidding in 2015 and the new registration system for SIM cards. 

On 18 December, the NBTC are set to host a public hearing for the auction of 1800- and 850-megahertz spectrum, an event Tantasith says he plans on attending. Currently the 1800- and 850MHz spectrum ranges are operated by Total Access Communication (DTAC), a subsidiary of CAT Telecom, a state-owned enterprise with the licence due to expire on 30 September 2018.

Due to the six year term with the current NBTC board having expired in October, under a new NTBC act the government must recruit a new NBTC board to replace the existing one. The NLA has begun work on the recruitment criteria for the replacement NBTC board and interested parties can apply between 8-12 January 2018.

"We should see the names of candidates for the new NBTC in March or April of next year," added Tantasith.

In related news the NTBC awarded mu Space Corp, the start-up space technology company with a licence to operate and provision satellite based services until the year 2032.