Deadline Extension for Fantastic TV to Launch English Channel
The Communications Authority (CA) approved a short extension of the deadline for Fantastic Television Limited (Fantastic TV) to launch its English Channel and to comply with the milestone with regard to the provision of its Chinese and English Channels in its performance bond by two months from the 30th of May 2018 to the 30th of July 2018.
Fantastic TV was granted a domestic free television programme service licence (the Licence) by the Chief Executive in Council on the 31st of May 2016 to provide a two-channel free TV service in Hong Kong. The Licence provides that within 24 months from the commencement date (i.e. by 30 May 2018), Fantastic TV shall broadcast one 24-hour Chinese Channel and one 24-hour English Channel. Fantastic TV has launched its 24-hour Chinese Channel on 14 May 2017 and is required to launch its 24-hour English Channel by the 30th of May, 2018.
In late April 2018, Fantastic TV applied to the CA for extension of the deadline for launching its English Channel by two months to the 30th of July 2018. Fantastic TV submitted that it was its mission and vision to provide local news and programmes produced in English to serve the viewing public. Despite the uncertainties and change of key personnel in recent months, it had taken necessary steps to prepare for the launch of its English Channel. While preparation work had been in full swing, it had genuine difficulties in meeting the deadline for launching its English Channel by the 30th of May 2018.
In considering the application, the CA is mindful that the provision of an English Channel is a fundamental requirement for the grant of the Licence and that the licensee is obliged to adhere to the stipulated deadline for the roll-out of the English Channel in accordance with its licence condition. That notwithstanding, the CA is prepared to allow flexibility where circumstances so require having regard to the operating environment and unique circumstance of individual licensees.
The CA notes from the submission of Fantastic TV that it is in the final stage of preparation and that a two-month extension is instrumental for it to put the new service in place. Having considered the unique circumstances of this case, the CA agrees to grant a two-month grace period to enable Fantastic TV to roll out its English Channel.
In approving the application, the CA has made it clear to Fantastic TV that no further request for extension of the deadline would be entertained and that the CA will vigorously enforce the licence conditions on the milestone with regard to the roll-out of the English Channel.
The CA’s approval of this application is made on an exceptional basis having considered the unique circumstances of the case. This should not in any circumstances be taken by Fantastic TV or any other persons as a precedent for future cases.
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