NCC concludes investigation into NBC over anti-competitive conduct allegations

WINDHOEK: The Namibian Competition Commission (NCC) has concluded its investigation into the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) regarding allegations of anti-competitive conduct.

The commission examined claims that NBC limited market access to other free-to-air broadcasters on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) network.

This alleged conduct is said to restrict market outlets, investment, technical development, and technological progress, which is prohibited under Section 26 (1) read with Section 26 (2) (b) of the Competition Act No. 2 of 2003.

NCC Chief Executive Officer and Secretary, Vitalis Ndalikokule told Nampa on Tuesday that the probe centred on the market for free-to-air programming via the Namibian DTT network.

He stated that the commission determined that the relevant provisions of Part II of the Competition Act were violated, specifically, Section 26 (1) read with Section 26 (2) (b) and that NBC engaged in unilateral conduct to remove other free-to-air broadcasters from the DTT netwo
rk, thereby limiting market access.

As part of its cost-cutting efforts, NBC stopped broadcasting One Africa Television (OATV) on the NBC DTT network in September 2019. NBC claimed the refusal to pay a ‘flat annual carriage fee’ as the reason for the suspension. OATV alleged that NBC failed to present reasons why removing OATV from the multiplex would save NBC money.

‘Based on its findings, the commission proposed a decision that NBC engaged in prohibited conduct by limiting market outlets, investment, technical development, and technological progress as per Section 26 (1) read with Section 26 (2) (b) of the Competition Act. The commission granted NBC a period of 30 days to make written submissions or to indicate whether it requires an opportunity to make oral representations, in line with Sections 36 and 37 of the Competition Act,’ Ndalikokule said.

He stressed that, while the NCC has proposed this decision, no final decision has been reached. The process specified in Section 36 of the Competition Act wil
l be followed, giving NBC the opportunity to state its case.

This process ensures that NBC has an opportunity to reply to the findings and proposed conclusion before the commission takes any final action, he said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency