NBC refutes claims of blocking broadcasters amid NaCC anti-competitive conduct investigation

Business Finance

WINDHOEK: Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Director General, Stanley Similo has refuted claims that NBC has prevented other broadcasters from accessing its platforms.

This comes after the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) has been investigating allegations of anti-competitive conduct by NBC.

Responding to the matter, Similo on Tuesday criticised the NaCC for its publication of the proposed findings, which he described as untimely and premature.

He emphasised that the matter is still under review, pending submissions from the affected parties.

‘The NaCC’s highly publicised stance on NBC’s infrastructure sharing policy, particularly as it pertains to other market participants, is ongoing. Therefore, we consider the premature dissemination of the proposed findings by the regulator to be not only ill-advised, but also potentially mischievous and malicious,’ he said.

He further noted that NBC has sought clarifications on several aspects of the NaCC’s investigation, highlighting that the matter is
not yet resolved.

‘One can thus only imagine what the agenda of the Namibian Competition Commission is, particularly at this juncture,’ Similo remarked.

He explained that NBC has been seeking equitable contributions towards the maintenance of the shared infrastructure, rather than allowing other broadcasters to benefit without contributing.

‘It is important to clarify that NBC has never prevented other broadcasters from accessing its platforms. Rather, we have sought for an equitable annual contribution towards the maintenance of the shared infrastructure, as opposed to allowing free riding,’ he stated.

NaCC’s investigation into NBC has centred on allegations that NBC engaged in anti-competitive conduct by limiting market access to other free-to-air broadcasters on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network.

The investigation concluded that NBC’s actions may have restricted market outlets, investment, technical development, and technological progress, as outlined in Section 26 (1) read with Section
26 (2) (b) of the Competition Act No. 2 of 2003.

The final decision from NaCC is pending, with NBC given a 30-day period to make written submissions or to request an opportunity for oral representations.

The outcome of this process will determine whether the proposed findings by the NaCC will be upheld or revised.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency