Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 4 News List

NCC wants to boost cable service on offshore islands

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER, IN MATSU

The National Communications Commission (NCC) is planning to lower the threshhold for those wanting to offer cable TV services on outlaying islands.

Penghu already has one legal cable TV network operator, but cable services in Kinmen and Matsu are run by illegal operators who cannot meet the operational capital requirement set for cable TV service providers.

Regulations require cable TV networks to have at least NT$200 million (US$6.2 million) as capital. The policy has excluded some from entering the market, because they cannot meet this requirement.

“The [capital] requirement is too demanding for those who want to offer the service in the offshore islands, which are smaller markets and might not generate much profit,” NCC Commissioner Hsieh Chin-nan (謝晉男) said.

The commission is proposing lowering the minimum capital requirement for offshore operators to NT$20 million instead, he said.

The change would also help legalize some of the current players and give the commission the legal grounds to ask them to improve their service quality, he said.

The commission proposed the policy change after conducting a canvas of cable services nationwide.

Hsieh said that Matsu residents, for example, have complained about their TV service for years.

“They said they cannot even watch a baseball game that has New York Yankees starter Wang Chien-ming (王建民) without getting fuzzy images,” he said. “Yet they paid the same amount of money as those in Taiwan.”

The policy change would help attract companies willing to invest in infrastructure, he said, adding it would cost about NT$9 million to improve the quality of the cable service in Matsu.

“The operator must be willing to share the costs and adjust the service charge as a reward for the customers,” he said.

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