KUALA LUMPUR, Nov — Astro will no longer have a monopoly for paid television broadcasting services as four other companies have been given equal rights to compete in the field, said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry today.

Its Deputy Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith said the period for exclusive rights and privileges which was accorded to Measat Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd (Astro) to broadcast content to the public through satellite services terminated on February 28, 2017.

However, he said, Astro still had the right to continue its satellite broadcasting activities on a non-exclusive basis as its Network Facilities Provider Individual Licence and Network Service Provider Individual Licence given under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 were valid until February 1, 2020.

Meanwhile, its Content Applications Service Provider (CASP) Individual Licence would expire on February 28, 2022.

Eddin Syazlee said as of September 30, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) issued the CASP licences to 35 companies to provide television broadcasting services through various platforms such as satellite, free-to-air  (FTA), Internet protocol television (IPTV) and digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DTTB).

“Of these, four companies were allowed to provide television broadcasting service through the satellite platform, namely Ansa Broadcast Sdn Bhd (ANSA), Jaringan Mega Sdn Bhd (Jaringan Mega), Smart Digital International (M) Sdn Bhd (Smart Digital) and High End Net Sdn Bhd (High End Net).

“With the availability of these various platforms, the people have a choice of content, either through free non-subscription broadcasting or through subscription broadcasting,” he said in response to a question from Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Eddin Syazlee added that the people also had the option of enjoying content through the ‘over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as applications like Tonton, iFlix and NetFlix. — Bernama