The Government has established a task force to handle issues arising from the non-renewal of ATV's free TV licence to strive for a smooth transition.
In a statement responding to media enquiries today, the Commerce & Economic Development Bureau said the Government is concerned about ATV's recent development and will expedite the launch of a new free TV service.
It noted that new free TV services cannot start broadcasting immediately if ATV ceases operation abruptly before its licence expires because statutory procedures for the revocation of a free TV licence need to be followed.
The sudden withdrawal of spectrum assigned to ATV is a serious matter and must be dealt with in accordance with procedures, and broadcasters have to coordinate the technical aspects.
The Chief Executive in Council did not renew ATV’s licence in April 2015 and granted a free TV licence to HK Television Entertainment which must launch its free TV service by March 31.
Radio Television Hong Kong is preparing to provide a stop-gap analogue TV service, which includes procuring technical services for the provision of analogue broadcasting.
Since mid-2015, the Government has been progressively regaining possession of the government lands or premises of ATV's transmission sites to facilitate RTHK or other free TV operators to install or provide transmission services.
The statement added that ATV has the obligation to provide services in accordance with the statutory requirements before the licence expires. Should the licensee decide not to continue to operate, it should seek the Chief Executive in Council's approval to give up its licence early.
The Communications Authority will continue to monitor ATV's operations.