Thu, Dec 16, 2010 - Page 2 News List

NCC plans to amend telecom laws after blackout on Kinmen

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday that it is planning to amend the Telecommunications Act (電信法) to require telecom carriers to have backup circuits after a Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) malfunctioning network caused a communications blackout between Kinmen and the rest of Taiwan for almost five hours last week.

Commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said CHT asked representatives to come and brief NCC commissioners about the incident.

While recognizing CHT’s efforts to resume communications quickly, Chen said that the telecom company was asked to take measures to prevent similar situations from happening again.

Chen said the company must have backup circuits to ensure communications can continue. Commissioners also asked the company to inspect the facilities in locations where similar incidents could occur, he said.

The company was also required to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident to determine whether it was purely the result of malfunctioning equipment or if it could be attributed to human error.

In addition, the company must ensure an adequate supply of spare parts for the nation’s outlying islands and remote areas, he said.

Chen said the NCC was also considering amending the Telecommunication Act to require telecom carriers to install backup circuits. The amendment would also stipulate standards for customer compensation when the communication is disrupted under various scenarios, he said.

CHT identified malfunctioning light signal amplifiers at its terminal station in Kinmen as the cause of the problem, the NCC said.

The amplifiers were attached to underwater fiber optic cables connecting Taiwan and Kinmen, as well as Kinmen and Penghu.

The incident occurred at 2:28pm, and communications between Kinmen and the rest of Taiwan did not resume until 6:54pm.

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