City Telecom chairman Ricky Wong slams government over licence delay

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 3:55pm

The chairman of City Telecom (CTI) continued his scathing criticism of the government for the second day in a row on Thursday, saying it was “infuriating” to be kept waiting for 1,022 days for a TV broadcasting licence.

On Wednesday Ricky Wong Wai-kay issued a statement condemning Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung for delays and using “official mumble-jumble” language on the issue.

Speaking in a radio interview on Thursday morning, Wong said this is the 1,022th day since his company submitted its application for a free-to-air TV licence.

“Greg So [Gregory So Kam-leung, the commerce secretary] said yesterday at Legco that there was ‘progress’. I don’t know what kind of progress he meant,” Wong continued. “Our demand is very reasonable: at least give us a timetable so that we know what to expect.”

CTI submitted its application for the new licence in 2009, after the government decided to open the platform. PCCW and i-Cable Communications also submitted applications, and said they are still waiting for the results.

“This is infuriating,” Wong said. “Whether to give a licence depends on: one, public opinion; two, the Broadcasting Authority’s [now the Communications Authority] approval; and three, the TV market assessment. But I do not see any reason why the government still can’t grant us a licence.”

Asked if the delay was due to authorities’ wish to restrain freedom of speech, Wong said he had no idea.

“I have no insider information,” said Wong. “The previous government discussed this licence issue but a decision could not be reached. But I know it still hasn’t been discussed in this government.”

Wong said CTI submitted its application in 2009 and has invested HK$300 million in the TV venture so far.