Thu, Aug 25, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Commission to review Wi-Fi service

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it would conduct a comprehensive review on the regulations governing the use of Wi-Fi frequencies, adding that it would also closely monitor the transmission speed and retail prices of Wi-Fi services.

As demand for 3G service increases, which in turn slows transmission when users access the Internet through their mobile phones, some telecoms operators had proposed that they could utilize Wi-Fi frequencies, build networks and charge customers for accessing such a service to ease congestion.

NCC spokesman Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said while Taiwan had stipulated regulations governing the use of the Wi-Fi frequencies in 2003, it had yet to review those regulations.

The commission ruled yesterday that it would establish a special taskforce to address issues that have arisen in the past eight years and amend the regulations accordingly.

Chen said the regulations stipulated eight years ago that users of Wi-Fi frequencies need not have to pay a license fee.

Should operators want to use these supposedly free frequencies for their businesses, they might have to pay a license fee, he said.

While the operators claim they allow their users to use the Wi-Fi service for free, the service charges were actually bundled with their monthly fees, he said.

“We would also need to establish standards to oversee the provision of Wi-Fi services, including the transmission speeds and installation of hotspots,” Chen said.

However, Chen said he disapproved of telecoms operators’ proposal to use Wi-Fi as a way to help ease congestion on 3G networks.

“The operators should accelerate and expand their installation of 3G networks to meet the rising demand,” Chen said.

“They should not use it as a way to compensate for the shortage of bandwidth in the 3G network,” he added

He said consumers in Taiwan do not like to wait and time needed to access the Internet or to download content are sometimes much more important than the charge.

Meanwhile, Chen said the NCC would also review the rates for unlimited Internet access via mobile phone, known by local consumers as “all-you-can-eat” rates.

“We will see if the telecoms operators actually have the ability to offer such service,” Chen said. “One cannot say they offer an ‘all-you-can-eat’ service if the consumers cannot even log onto the Internet.”

At present, Wi-Fi uses the 2.4G and 5G frequencies.

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