Hong Kong’s Communications Authority has granted Approval-in-principle (AIP) for an application by Fantastic Television Limited to use DTT spectrum as an additional transmission means.
In May 2016, the HK Government granted a free TV licence to Fantastic TV for the provision of free TV service in Hong Kong by using a fixed network as its transmission means. FTV, a private company incorporated in Hong Kong and holding a domestic free television programme service licence, is a consolidated structured entity of i-Cable Communications which holds 14.9% of its voting rights.
Pursuant to Conditions 10.2 and 30 of the domestic free television programme (free TV) service licence of Fantastic TV, the CA has granted an AIP to Fantastic TV in respect of its application for using spectrum, on top of its fixed network, as an additional means of transmission for the delivery of its free TV service.
“In May 2020, Fantastic TV applied to the CA for the assignment of a digital terrestrial television (DTT) frequency channel (i.e. the 478 – 486 MHz band), on top of fixed network, to deliver its licensed free TV service,” said a spokesman of the CA. “The abovementioned band to be vacated upon the completion of migration of relevant DTT frequency channels by 1 December 2021 will be reserved for Fantastic TV’s use.”
The use of spectrum in the requested band for TV broadcast will provide an additional means of transmission, and Fantastic TV has committed to providing a new digital TV programme channel on top of its existing two integrated channels. The CA considers that it would be in the viewers’ interest for the CA to grant an AIP for using spectrum to Fantastic TV.
“The decision made today can provide viewers with more programming choices by enabling households currently beyond the reach of Fantastic TV’s fixed network to receive its free TV service and facilitating the launch of an additional TV programme channel to viewers within 12 months and 18 months respectively from the grant of the AIP,” added the spokesman.
The grant of the AIP would enable Fantastic TV to proceed with the preparatory work for the spectrum use and transmission network planning as per its proposed timeline pending vacation of the relevant DTT frequency channel by 1 December 2021.
In granting the AIP, the CA is satisfied that Fantastic TV has demonstrated its commitment to comply with the additional conditions that the CA imposes, which are pertinent to spectrum assignment1 to ensure that Fantastic TV would operate on a level playing field as the spectrum-based incumbent free TV licensees.
The CA will monitor Fantastic TV’s progress in honouring its commitments and compliance with the terms and conditions of the AIP before granting a formal approval of its application.