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Netflix, Facebook ‘face Thai ultimatum’

Digital-headernetflix hqDigital giants Netflix, YouTube and Facebook must register with Thailand’s national telecoms register or face problems in the territory, officials have said.

According to the Bangkok Post, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) has given the platforms 30 days to register, or “face legal barriers that will stymie their revenue streams”.

The NBTC has been examining existing rules in recent months and have decided to take a strong stance with OTT players.

Netflix, Facebook and YouTube did not attend a meeting on Thursday that gave them the chance to register their operations. Some 24 digital terrestrial channels and eleven OTT operators did attend and agreed to join the NBTC list.

The watchdog is looking into imposing advertising bans on those that don’t register by the July 22 deadline. This would significantly impair each business in Thailand.

However, the Bangkok Post’s report noted there were no plans to kill the services completely.

The NBTC framework calls on overseas OTT platform operations to establish offices in Thailand, making them subject to corporate income tax.

Should the government press ahead with its plans, Thailand would become the first territory in the world to regulate OTT services.

Many traditional television services around the world have complained of an uneven playing field, in which they are subject to local regulation, while OTT players are not.