Mon, Dec 24, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan leads in broadband access, NCC chairman says

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwan has set another world record in terms of broadband infrastructure, with broadband Internet access now available in all but one of its townships and villages, National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairman Su Yeong-chin (蘇永欽) said yesterday.

Su made the remarks a day after the inauguration of broadband services in five remote villages in Taitung County.

"We have surmounted tremendous technological challenges and accomplished an almost impossible mission ahead of schedule," Su said.

He added that Taiwan is the first country in the world to have such an extensive broadband infrastructure set up in virtually every remote township and village.

On Saturday, Su joined several other officials, including Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-chen (鄺麗貞) and Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信) chairman Hochen Tan (賀陳旦), in presiding over the launch of broadband services in the five remote Aboriginal communities in Taitung County.

The five villages -- Tachu (大竹), Chenhsing (振興), Senyung (森永), Chiafeng (嘉豐) and Langtao (朗島) on Orchid Island off the Taitung coast -- were the last areas in the country not to have broadband Internet access.

In an effort to narrow the digital divide between urban and rural areas, the NCC -- the country's telecommunications and media regulatory body -- identified 46 remote or secluded villages that lacked broadband service earlier this year.

"We must make the necessary hardware and software investments to prevent these places from falling behind in this digital era, " Su said.

He added that broadband Internet access would serve as a window for children and other residents in remote areas to acquire more knowledge.

The NCC asked Chunghwa Telecom, the country's largest telecommunications service provider, to build broadband infrastructure in 43 of the villages or townships in eight counties, and Taiwan Fixed Network to do so in three villages in Alishan Township (阿里山) in Chiayi County.

The NCC also demanded that the Internet connection speed in all these areas be increased to 2Mb per second or faster.

The two companies used either optical fiber or wireless network technologies to overcome technological barriers and finally completed the challenging work ahead of schedule, Su said.

He said that the partially state-owned Chunghwa Telecom alone injected more than NT$93 million (US$2.86 million) in broadband infrastructure setup in 43 barely accessible townships in mountain or offshore regions in Miaoli, Hualien, Pingtung, Taitung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Nantou counties.

The "broadband for every township" project was originally scheduled for completion by the end of this year, but all the work was completed by Dec. 15, except in Haucha Village (好茶) in Pingtung where it was delayed by typhoon damage.

The broadband infrastructure setup in the mountain village has been rescheduled for completion in late February, Su said.

Chunghwa Telecom has also opened a digital classroom in Chenhsing Village and donated 10 brand new computers for use by local residents.

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