The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday approved Chunghwa Telecom’s proposed construction of a marine cable between Taiwan’s outlying island of Kinmen and Xiamen, a major city in Fujian Province, China.
The nation’s first direct cross-strait marine cable will be jointly funded by Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Telecom and Far EasTone Telecommunications, as well as Chinese telecoms operators China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.
Chunghwa applied to build the marine cable on behalf of the nation’s two other telecoms operators and signed the contract with the Chinese telecoms operators. Based on the contract, each side will invest 50 percent in the deal.
The cable is scheduled to become operational in March, and it is expected to cost an estimated NT$1 billion (US$33 million) to lay.
NCC spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the marine cable would be an international cable no different from the other international cables Chunghwa already uses.
He said construction of the marine cable did not violate regulations banning Chinese investment in Taiwanese first-tier telecoms operators.
To dismiss national security concerns, Chen said the Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, the National Police Agency of the Ministry of the Interior and the National Security Bureau had also given their approval.
Chen said Taiwanese telecoms operators said they would not use any communications equipment manufactured in China.
“The direct marine cable could reduce the costs of cross-strait communication and help increase cross-strait communication volume as well,” Chen said.
Chunghwa said the new marine cable would help -increase the -overall reliability of -communications services.
Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific Telecom was fined NT$300,000 for installing fixed-network communications equipment without securing a permit from the NCC.
Although the equipment had yet to become operational, the company had violated the Telecommunication Act (電信法), officials said.
Chen said the company was fined because it had not secured a permit to install new communications equipment, not because it used equipment manufactured by China-based Huawei Technology Inc.
Aside from the fine, Chen said the company would be a given notice to comply with government regulations within a prescribed timeframe, based on Article 63 of the act. Article 63 also stipulates that failure to comply within the prescribed timeframe could result in consecutive fines until full compliance or an annulment of its franchise.