National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairwoman Su Herng (蘇蘅) confirmed yesterday that the entire nation would become one telephone service area, starting on Jan. 1.
“This will be the commission’s New Year’s gift to all the people in the nation,” Su said.
Su made the promise at the legislature’s Transportation Committee, which was scheduled to review the NCC’s budget plan for the next fiscal year.
The committee passed a resolution in January this year asking the NCC to make the entire nation one telephone service area within in a year, including Taiwan proper, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other outlying islands.
The resolution will essentially terminate the long-distance telephone service and fixed network service users will all be charged local call rates.
The policy again became the focus of a question-and-answer session at the committee yesterday.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said Chunghwa Telecom, previously part of the Directorate-General of Telecommunications, used the nation’s funding and resources to install the infrastructure for the fixed service network.
The company should have redeemed its costs by now, but it still charges its customers NT$5 in maintenance fees per month, Yeh said, adding that the company should not increase the rate through the execution of the policy, but should drop rates instead.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠) also asked the NCC to review the plan submitted by Chunghwa Telecom, saying he was concerned that the company may appear to reduce the rate while in fact be raising the rate.
Su said that the commission is in the process of reviewing the plan proposed by Chunghwa Telecom.
However, the company should not raise the monthly service charge for the fixed network service or the call rates, she said.
Legislators also asked Su about the commission’s plan to cooperate with the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to regulate programs offering stock market forecasts.
According to the NCC, the programs should display warnings to investors every five minutes, for example, asking them to exercise caution, discretion and independent judgement when purchasing stocks. Those analyzing the stock markets must be certified analysts. The NCC will report those programs with questionable contents to the FSC and let the latter determine if they have violated the guidelines.
KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) asked if there were penalties for violations, while KMT Legislator Luo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) asked Su if the commission has sufficient resources and manpower to regulate these programs.
Su said the commission and the FSC were planning to finalize the draft of the guidelines in two weeks and that the commission would also listen to the channel operators.