The government and US chip giant Intel Corp signed a collaborative agreement yesterday to turn Taiwan into a key development base for a new technology that delivers high-speed wireless Internet access over long distances.
"Through this collaboration with Intel, Taiwan is moving from a hardware-centric provider to a critical player in establishing an emerging technology standard," Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (
The new technology -- WiMax -- is an emerging wireless broadband standard that can provide Internet access over radio waves with a range of up to 48km and offers download speeds comparable to broadband connections.
The technology is said to overcome problems in getting high-speed Internet service to remote locations, and would eventually eliminate the need to lay new networks of fiber-optic line.
Under the pact, Intel will provide technical resources to assist the development and deployment of Wimax in Taiwan, and will share the results and experience from related trials abroad with local industry.
According to Ho, the government's goal is to set up 15 WiMax field trials in 10 cities by 2007, and attract a wireless broadband user base of 8 million within five years.
As only a handful of countries have embarked on WiMax trials, this will give Taiwan an edge as a global technology leader, she said.
The government will pump in NT$1.1 billion (US$32.9 million) for the research and development of WiMax components and platforms over the next two years, Minister without Portfolio Lin Ferng-ching (
The project forms a key part of the M-Taiwan (mobile Taiwan) program, a NT$37 billion scheme aimed promoting seamless wireless broadband communication access, he added.
Meanwhile, Intel said that WiMax will be key to helping make the digital home concept a reality in Asia.
The concept refers to connecting consumer electronics devices, home appliances and personal computers in the home through a broadband connection.
"The related technologies are mature now, and broadband is being rapidly deployed in the region," Donald MacDonald, vice president of Intel's digital home group, said during the forum in Taipei.
Intel will use its core competency in semiconductors to work with computer and consumer electronics makers, as well as content and service providers, to offer users an easy-to-use digital home experience at an affordable price point, he added.
"Consumers set the bar and we have to adapt our technologies to meet their needs," he said.
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