At a joint congressional hearing held this Monday, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said that ABS-CBN did not violate rules on its old 25-year franchise by introducing multiple programs on its TV plus units.
A franchise assigns a broadcast frequency of 6 megahertz to a network allowing it to provide up to 6 programs on digital television as implied by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba.
Cordoba said, “Insofar as 6 programs in 1 channel is concerned, okay po yun (they’re okay).”
Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones questioned if ABS-CBN’s made a violation of its franchise with this. Cordoba then responded, “Wala po.”
Meanwhile, a group of cable TV operators appeared at congress to protest against ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal declared the “one franchise, one channel” rule.
ABS-CBN’s TV Plus has 11 free exclusive channels and two channels for movies, as well as the pay-per-view service Kapamilya Box Office.
Cordoba also answered the question of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin who asked if the previous 25-year franchise contained any provision that prohibited the operation of multiple programs.
“Baka hindi po yun na-forsee ng RA 7966,” he said.
Aragones then clarified that ABS-CBN’s old franchise has the word “frequency” and not “channel.”
ABS-CBN was accused of the illegal introduction of pay-per-view features in its TVplus units but Cordoba said that they asked ABS-CBN not to release this until they give necessary regulatory permits.
Garbin asked, “But if there’s no regulation, would you consider that there’s a violation of any law? An activity that has not been regulated, would you consider that there’s a violation even if it’s not regulated?”
Under the Public Service Act, ABS-CBN can be fined for P200 for every unauthorized offer of PPV if the violation was proven.