NOW eyes broadcast operations


    NOW Corp. is keen to venture into the radio, television and digital terrestrial TV business.

    Mel Velarde, NOW chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement its broadcast affiliates have applied for radio frequencies and have ongoing application for direct terrestrial TV broadcast with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

    “NOW Group is very interested in TV and radio broadcasting due to its wide-spread coverage for news delivery, public information, and distance learning,” Velarde said.

    NOW stressed it has not applied at the NTC to secure ABS-CBN Channel 2 and AMCARA Broadcasting Network’s Channel 23 frequencies.

    However, Velarde said applying for TV and radio licenses is an obligation mandated in broadcasting franchises in order to operate as granted by Congress, and that there must be as many applications to fill the void created by the demise of ABS-CBN TV and radio signals in the air.

    “The sooner this is done, and the most qualified applicants with verifiable and excellent track record can operate the said franchises, the better for the country since if these frequencies fall into the wrong hands, then the intent of Congress which represents the people shall be compromised,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) and the NOW Group are pushing for the immediate passage of the proposed Philippine Public Service Broadcasting Act.

    In separate letters addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano, Florangel Rosario-Braid, AIJC president emeritus and trustee, said the proposed bill will enhance the public’s claim to its constitutional right to information on matters of public concern, as well as the Charter’s recognition of the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.

    The NOW Group operates publicly listed telecoms, media and technology firm NOW Corp., NOW Telecom and NOW Cable.

    NOW Telecom is also eyeing to be the country’s fourth telecom player. It has allocated $713 million for capital expenditure over the next five years, with the bulk earmarked for the acquisition of 5G radio equipment.