KKMM open to other companies competing with Astro

The Ministry of Communication and Multimedia (KKMM) is open to the suggestion of other companies competing with digital broadcast service provider Astro, to provide paid television broadcasting services in the country, the Dewan Negara was told today.

Deputy Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith said KKMM was ready to grant rights or Content Application Service Provider (CASP) Individual licences to interested companies, as long as they complied with certain conditions.

He said among the conditions set were that the companies should be set up in Malaysia, with a paid-up capital of RM500,000.

“However, it should be taken into account that Astro was given the 25 years of (exclusive) rights based on its investments made to advance technology in order to get good content such as HD programmes which are among the best in the Asia Pacific.

“For companies such as Astro, it takes 23 years just to get a return on investment. This is a factor which needs to be taken into consideration by new companies. This is not easy,” he said in the Dewan Negara today.

He was replying to a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Yong Wui Chung who wished to know if there was any assistance or incentive that the ministry could provide to local and foreign broadcasting firms to compete with Astro.

Eddin Syazlee said Astro, managed by MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd (MBNS) company, had been granted exclusive rights and privileges to broadcast live content through satellite services to the public since 1997.