Communication between Taiwan proper and the outlying island of Kinmen was cut for almost five hours yesterday after light signal amplifiers at Chunghwa Telecom’s (中華電信) terminal station in Kinmen experienced a systems failure.
The signal amplifiers are attached to submarine optical fiber cables connecting Taiwan proper and Kinmen, as well as Kinmen and Penghu.
Chunghwa Telecom said the malfunction occurred at 2:28pm, with communication between Taiwan and Kinmen not resuming until 6:54pm. Direct communications between Kinmen and Penghu remained unavailable at press time and phone calls from Penghu to Kinmen, or vice versa, had to be rerouted via the telecoms network in Taiwan.
The disruption caused chaos at Kinmen Airport, delaying nine flights from Taiwan and stranding 550 passengers.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration was forced to reschedule bookings to Kinmen for the Lunar New Year holidays.
Chunghwa Telecom said some calls by its customers in Kinmen may have been rerouted to use signals from the Chinese telecoms carrier China Mobile. In such instances, customers would not be charged international roaming rates, the company said.
Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), deputy director of the operational management division at the National Communications Commission, said it received its first report of the incident at 4pm and immediately -activated its disaster relief mechanism.
“We have asked Chunghwa Telecom to handle customers’ requests in a reasonable manner,” Huang said, adding that it would review the company’s power backup system and crisis management mechanism after the incident.