NTC complies with ARTA order to issue license to pay-TV firm

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The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said it has issued an order granting provisional authority to Newsnet, a company owned by businessman Mel Velarde, to operate a local multi-point distribution system (LMDS) to deliver pay-television and multi-media services in South Luzon, North Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Photo shows ARTA director-general Jeremiah Belgica (right) and deputy director-general Ernesto Perez

In its manifestation of compliance submitted to the Anti Red-Tape Authority (ARTA) last Feb. 18, NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said the PA was for the co-use of GHT Network Inc.’s 26.35 to 27.35 gigahertz frequency range as contained in an NTC order issued last January 27.

Newsnet and GHT, although related parties, are juridical entities with corporate personalities separate and distinct from each other, including with respect to assets and property that they own, under the Corporation Code.

ARTA last Feb. 12 ordered the NTC to issue to Newsnet a certificate of public convenience (CPC) as applied for by the company in the 25.35 to 26.35 GHz immediately after ARTA declared the completeness of Newsnet’s application.

ARTA director general Jeremiah Belgica said that Newsnet’s application is deemed automatically approved by operation of law pursuant to the Ease of Doing Business Law or Republic Act no. 11032 when the NTC failed to act on such application within the period prescribed by law.

Newsnet already uses the 25.35 to 26.35 GHz frequency band for a similar LMDS in Metro Manila and that Newsnet’s application for a CPC only sought to expand its operations to the provinces.

In its Feb. 12 order, ARTA directed NTC to submit its compliance report within three working days from receipt of the order. NTC said that its January 27 order granting a CPC to Newsnet already constitutes compliance with the ARTA order.

ARTA warned that NTC’s failure to comply with the order to issue the CPC to Newsnet shall constrain ARTA to file the appropriate case or action in the proper forum.

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