Thu, Aug 02, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Broadband comes to village of Lichia

SUPERHIGHWAY IN THE HILLS A small village in Alishan, where one year ago many residents didn't have regular phones, recently received a high-tech Internet upgrade

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN ALISHAN, CHIAYI COUNTY

For Yang Shan-feng (楊尚峰) of Lichia (里佳) Village in Alishan, being able to use the broadband service in the village was something beyond his imagination.

Just about a year ago, a majority of the village residents did not have regular phones.

So when the officials from the National Communications Commission (NCC) and Chunghwa Telecom came in February and introduced the idea of having a broadband infrastructure set up for them, Yang questioned when and how the proposal could be realized.

"In the beginning, I didn't believe it [the broadband service] could happen," he said, "We are more remote than other Tsou Tribe (鄒族) clans, and simply considering the money it would take made me wonder if it was even possible."

Yesterday, Yang sat with his seven-year-old daughter in a computer room at the village's elementary school, watching her play an online game on a computer equipped with broadband service.

"Through the Internet, I hope my kid can get more information about the outside world," Yang said, adding that he is now learning how to get information online himself.

Lichia was one of the 46 remote villages identified by NCC that needed the broadband service. The infrastructure for Lichia was completed in June.

Chen Ming-li (陳明利), chief of Alishan Township (阿里山), said the service will have a profound impact on the village, as it now serves as a window for children to learn about other places in Taiwan and the world.

He said that the same broadband service will also be available to residents in three other villages under the administration of the Alishan Township. The infrastructure there will be built by the Taiwan Fixed Network.

Chuang Shin-kuo (莊新國), the principal of the Dabang Elementary School in Lichia, praised the benefits of broadband service for students.

The school has 21 students, and two graduated this year.

Chuang said that the school had online service, but students spent half of the 40-minute computer class waiting for images to be downloaded.

"Now we can have the whole class, not just half the class," he said.

An inauguration ceremony was held yesterday at the Lichia Village to mark the launch of the service.

In traditional Tsou Tribe clothing, residents performed the tribe's celebration dance and served the guests Tsou food such as grilled pork.

NCC chairman Su Yeong-chin (蘇永欽) said the fund was allocated specifically to prevent places like Lichia from falling behind in the free market.

Yang Chung-chi (楊重志), the chief of the Lichia Village, said that the entire village will directly benefit from the service, as the information about the village can now be accessed online.

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