NTC recalls frequencies assigned to ABS-CBN

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    THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has recalled radio and TV frequencies assigned to broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. due to lack of congressional franchise.

    The order covers five AM radio stations, 17 FM radio stations, and 42 TV stations including Channels 43 and 41.

    In an order dated September 9 but released only yesterday, the NTC said the denial by the House of Representatives of ABS-CBN’s bid for a franchise renewal, “coupled with the denial of respondent’s petition by the Supreme Court, lead to no other conclusion except that respondent had already lost the privilege of installing, operating, and maintaining radio broadcasting stations in the country.”

    “Consequentially, absent a valid legislative franchise, the recall of the frequencies assigned to respondent is warranted,” it added.

    ABS-CBN’s franchise expired on May 4 this year. The NTC then directed the media giant to shut down the operations of its ratio and television stations, its digital TV transmission in Metro Manila using Channel 43. The House rejected its application for franchise renewal in July. In August, the Supreme Court dismissed its plea to stop the NTC’s closure order.

    The NTC did not say what government will do with the frequencies, whether these will be assigned to a new broadcast firm and to telecom players, or will be put up for bidding.

    ABS-CBN continues to operate through cable and online services such as TV Patrol on cable and satellite TV via Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, YouTube, Facebook, iWant and TFC. Its ANC and Teleradyo channels continue broadcast through cable TV.

    As of end August this year, ABS-CBN has laid off a significant number of workers following the closure of 21 regional broadcast stations and online radio station operations, among others.

    The company has shut down several business operations, including KidZania Manila and ABS-CBN Tulong Center.