Thailand government has issued a warning against Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix, asking them to register their Over-The-Top (OTT) services with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) or face legal hurdles. These actions may, in turn, cause hindrance in their revenue growth.
The national telecom regulator’s regulatory framework for OTT services took effect on Thursday. It had invited the platform providers to attend and register their OTT businesses and activities. The new framework needs the foreign OTT platforms to set up local offices and also be registered as entities in Thailand. This implies their operations in the country will be liable for the corporate tax and, also, that the employees who take the executive decisions should be staying in Thailand.
About 24 digital terrestrial television channels and 11 OTT operators turned up. However, representatives of Facebook, YouTube and Netflix didn’t show up. As per a statement published in the Bangkok Post, NBTC vice chairman Natee Sukolrat, said,
We don’t want to use the term ‘illegal’ for those OTT providers who fail to register, but their services are not in line with Thai law.
He added that if they do not adhere to the mandatory regulations by July 22, the regulator might resort to restricting the companies’ advertising. He is said to have excluded the possibility of shutting these social networking and entertainment services as it is against local users’ interests. If Facebook, Netflix and YouTube surrender to the government’s orders, this would be the first time, they will subject themselves to OTT regulations.
This is not the first time Facebook is involved with Thailand government. Last month, the Thai Internet Service Provider Association (TISPA), had asked the social networking website to shut down 131 pages.