Astro still exclusive provider of satellite broadcast services by default

KUALA LUMPUR: Astro is still the exclusive provider of satellite broadcast services in Malaysia despite four other companies being granted a licence to operate as none of them have begun operations, says Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Eddin Syazlee.

At the moment, he said, Astro runs on a non-exclusive right to operate as a satellite broadcast network facilities provider for which its licence expires on Feb 1, 2020. Its licence as a content application service provider (CASP) meanwhile expires on Feb 8, 2022.

“There is no exclusive control by Astro because four other companies have also been granted CASP licences and allowed to compete,” the Kuala Pilah MP said to Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong), who asked about the government’s action to move away from Astro’s monopoly.

“The problem is, the four companies until today have not started operations. There is no further issue about Astro having an exclusive monopoly,” he said, adding that Astro’s 20-year exclusivity had ended in February last year.

He said as of Sept 30 this year, 35 companies had been granted CASP licences by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for various platforms, including free-to-air and IPTV.

He added that any company could submit its CASP licence application for review, and that Malaysia had a wide range of options such as non-subscription and subscription-based networks like iflix and Netflix.