Speeches and Presentations



LCQ15: Television licences and carrier licences for telecommunications services

Following is a question by the Hon Charles Mok and a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the Legislative Council meeting today (November 13):

Question:

The authorities implemented the liberalisation of the television (TV) market (including both free and pay TV markets) in 2000 and the telecommunications market in 2003. The Communications Authority (CA) has made clear in its guidelines that there will be no preset limits on the numbers of free TV programme service licences (free TV licences), pay TV programme service licences (pay TV licences) as well as carrier licences for telecommunications services to be granted. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(a) the number of applications for free TV licences received by the former Broadcasting Authority (BA) and CA since 2000; among such applications, the number of those assessed by the former BA or CA as having fulfilled the licensing requirements (including but not limited to technical and financial requirements) and were recommended to the Chief Executive in Council for granting of licences; among the applications recommended, the number of those rejected by the Chief Executive in Council;

(b) the number of applications for pay TV licences received by BA and CA since 2000; among such applications, the number of those assessed by BA or CA as having fulfilled the licensing requirements (including but not limited to technical and financial requirements) and were recommended to the Chief Executive in Council for granting of licences; among the applications recommended, the number of those rejected by the Chief Executive in Council; and

(c) the number of applications for carrier licences received by the former Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) and CA since 2003 for the provision of public telecommunications services in Hong Kong; among such application, the number of those assessed by OFTA or CA as having fulfilled the licensing requirements; the number of applications which fulfilled the licensing requirements but were eventually refused by the former Telecommunications Authority or CA with reasons in writing for the refusal provided to the applicants in accordance with the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106)?

Reply:

President,

Under the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562) (BO), the Communications Authority (CA) shall consider applications for a domestic free television programme service (free TV) licence or a domestic pay television programme service (pay TV) licence and make recommendations thereon to the Chief Executive (CE) in Council. The CE in Council may, after considering recommendations made by CA, grant a licence subject to such conditions as he thinks fit specified in the licence. Separately, under the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106), the CA may issue a carrier licence.

My reply to the Hon Charles Mok's question is as follows:

(a) Between 2000 and March 31, 2012, the former Broadcasting Authority (former BA) (now the CA) received and processed three applications for a free TV licence. After assessment of the three applications in accordance with BO and established procedures, the former BA recommended to the CE in Council that approval-in-principle (AIP) for the grant of a free TV licence be given to each of the applicants. Having considered the former BA's recommendations and all relevant factors, the CE in Council decided on October 15, 2013 to grant AIP to two applications. Since its establishment on April 1, 2012, the CA has not received any new application for a free TV licence.

(b) Between 2000 and March 31, 2012, the former BA received and processed a total of 10 applications for a pay TV licence. After assessment of the 10 applications in accordance with BO and established procedures, the former BA recommended to the CE in Council that AIP for the grant of a pay TV licence be given to five of the applicants. Having considered the former BA's recommendations and all relevant factors, the CE in Council decided on July 4, 2000 to grant AIP to the five applications. Since its establishment on April 1, 2012, the CA has not received any new application for a pay TV licence.

(c) Since January 2003, the former Telecommunications Authority and the CA have received a total of 55 applications for a carrier licence, including:

i. 36 new applications;
ii. 15 applications for switching the licence before the expiry of their existing carrier licences; and
iii. 4 applications relating to the expiry of existing carrier licences.

All of the above 55 applications have been found to be in compliance with the licensing requirements with licences granted.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013