Hong Kongs Cable TV

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Hong Kong — The monopoly pay TV provider here, Cable
TV, isn't taking recent government media proposals lying down.

The proposals, if enacted, would pump up the volume on
future competition with the system even more than had been expected. So there's little
wonder that Steven Ng, chairman and managing director of Cable TV and its parent company,
Wharf Communications Investments Ltd., described the plan as "meaningless,
ineffective and unbalanced."

Ng explained that he supported the broad idea of the
proposals, but said they were "imbalanced" because, although they called for
more pay TV licenses, they did not call for more broadcast network licenses as well.

The government's proposals suggested that there was not
enough ultrahigh

frequency to support more broadcasters. But Ng begged to
differ, and is calling for an independent study to evaluate if there is any more frequency
available.

One analyst noted that Cable TV's original three-year
monopoly began in June 1993, and that it was given a de facto extension in April 1996.
"They just don't know

how to function without [the monopoly]," the analyst
added.

Cable TV is fighting the government's insistence that the
system return certain microwave frequencies that allowed it to kick start the system in
the early days with wireless transmissions. And the system is calling on the government to
set up a specialist unit within the broadcasting regulator, the Information Technology and
Broadcasting Bureau, to "deal with anti-competitive practices and abuse of dominance
in the broadcasting and telecommunications markets."

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