The Villar firm obtains the NTC license to use the ABS-CBN frequencies

The National Telecommunications Commission has granted a company controlled by former Senator Manuel Villar a provisional license to operate television broadcasting in Metro Manila and Mega Manila using frequencies previously owned by ABS-CBN Corp.

NTC has issued an order granting Advanced Media System Inc. interim permission to install, operate and maintain a digital terrestrial television broadcast station in Metro Manila and Mega Manila using Channel 16 (482-488 Mhz) with a 10 kW digital ERP for 18 months.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba and Deputy Commissioners Edgardo Cabarios and Delilah Deles signed the provisional license.

NTC said Advanced Media Systems is “legally qualified and the proposed digital terrestrial television station in Metro Manila and Mega Manila is technically and economically feasible for the benefit of the public.”

The regulator also granted Advanced Media System authority to test the broadcast of analog TV channel 2.

“This temporary authorization to test broadcast is effective from January 6, 2022 until analog shutdown, unless revoked or canceled earlier,” the NTC said.

“It is understood that the operation of the radio station in question must be carried out in accordance with the applicable radio laws and regulations,” he said.

In 2020, the NTC ordered ABS-CBN to cease operations after its congressional franchise expired.

Republic Act No. 7966, which granted ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise to operate television and radio stations, expired on May 4, 2020.

The Radio Control Act prohibits the operation of a radio station without a congressional franchise.

The network also shut down 12 local “TV Patrol” programs and MOR 101.9 For Life! in Manila on August 28, 2020.

The frequencies went unused for several months after ABS-CBN Channel 2 ceased broadcasting on May 5, 2020 after losing its license.

The office of the executive secretary asked the NTC in December last year to award “cleared and available frequencies to qualified entities”.

The Villar family owns Planet Cable, a cable television and fiber internet provider, which acquired a majority stake in Advanced Media in 2019 from the Vera family.

The transfer of the franchise was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives the same year.

Advanced Media, which also operates radio station 103.5 K-Lite, was awarded a new 25-year franchise to operate the television service in June 2019.

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