Nothing illegal with ABS-CBN's digital television service, says expert

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 7) - A digital television expert said there is nothing illegal with ABS-CBN's digital television service, TV Plus, which a cable operators group protested for airing multiple channels in one franchise.

“In a technical sense, all broadcasters with DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) licenses can broadcast with multiple programs under one frequency,” DTV Pilipinas co-founder Patrick Chin told CNN Philippines’ News Night.

A franchise assigns a broadcast frequency of 6 megahertz to a network, which allows the carrying of multiple digital channels, he said.

TV Plus has 11 free exclusive channels and two channels for movies, as well as the pay-per-view service Kapamilya Box Office.

Chin cited National Telecommunications Commission Memorandum circular 07-12-14, which states that any digital terrestrial television service can provide a “greater number of Standard Definition Television (SDTV) channels and/or better quality of picture (e.g. HDTV) and sound (e.9. AAC, EAc3, Dolby Digital) through a conventional aerial antenna instead of a satellite or cable connection.”

“Dito sa digital TV, for example, if you have any services that is standard definition kayang isiksik diyan ang eight programs,” said Chin.

[Translation: In digital TV, for example, if you have any services that is standard definition, it can carry eight programs.]

Federation of International Cable TV and Telecommunication Association of the Philippines alleged that ABS-CBN's digital services operated without permits. The group said this has caused its members to lose their businesses.

ABS-CBN has maintained that it has the necessary regulatory permits for its broadcast services.

NTC placed a cease-and-desist order on ABS-CBN after its franchise expired on May 4. However, its online services are still operating including its news site, social media platforms, and video streaming service.