February 17, 2017

Authorities take action against illegal satellite receivers

By:  Souksakhone Vaenkeo, Vientiane Times, February 17, 2017

Authorities have called for joint action to prevent illegal imports of satellite receivers after learning the receivers have been imported without permission from the relevant departments.

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) on Tuesday issued a request letter calling for the Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance to block any imports of satellite receivers whose importers have not been granted permission from the MPT.

Currently, many companies have imported the receivers for sale in local markets in which the receivers are made to receive satellite signals from other foreign countries. In addition, satellite signals of other countries have been serviced in Laos without permission from the MPT, which violates the relevant regulations, MPT said in the request letter.

Subjected to be blocked from the import included DTH Antenna receiver and set-top-box receiver as well as their related equipment.

An official of the MPT in charge of the issue told Vientiane Times yesterday that it violates international law, which regulates satellite affairs, for a country to offer satellite signal service in another country without permission from the latter.

To offer satellite signal service in other countries, the country that owns the satellite is required to reach an agreement with the countries they want to offer service to,? said the official, who wished to remain unnamed.

The current unlawful service of the satellite dishes which has spread from other countries means the Lao government has not received any obligation fees.

However, the official said the ministry has not had a plan to collect or remove those satellite receivers that are being sold from local markets, saying that latest move is just to block further unlawful imports.

The move came after Laos launched its own satellite in 2015, that will also offer commercial services.

Recently, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Dr Thansamay Kommasith issued a Ministerial Decision warning importers of information and communication technology (ICT) devices including satellite receivers to comply with the country's law by obtaining permission from the ministry before importing the ICT devices.

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