By EMMIE V. ABADILLA
Telecom regulators want to block ABS-CBN Corporation from broadcasting programs via other platforms.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) maintained that ABS-CBN’s cable channel, Channel 43, which has block time arrangements with Amcara Broadcasting Network, as well as its digital platform, TVPlus, are covered by the May 5, 2020 cease and desist order (CDO) issued against the company.
While ABS-CBN shut down its radio and broadcast operations a day after the May 5 expiration of its franchise, its cable and digital services did not go off the air.
However, both Channel 43 and TVPlus are covered by the same ABS-CBN expired franchise and should be shut down as well, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba told solons at the House of Representatives the other day.
As a result, ABS-CBN should stop airing its programs on these two platforms, he pointed out.
“The ABS-CBN franchise has expired and the airing of the digital broadcast is wrong. That violates the CDO,” Cordoba reiterated.
The Office of the Solicitor General counselled NTC to issue an alias CDO to stop the broadcast of ABS-CBN programs on Channel 43.
ABS-CBN appealed to both solons and telecom regulators to be permitted to continue its broadcast operations while the franchise application is pending “in the spirit of fairness”.
“In the past, the NTC permitted other companies whose franchises have expired but whose franchises are currently being deliberated on by Congress to continue operations until their application is approved or denied,” ABS-CBN Chief Executive Officer Carlo Katigbak argued.
Closing TVPlus and Channel 43 “will affect about 11 million homes that have access to our service. That’s almost 55 million people that will lose access to their entertainment, their news and information,” he pointed out.