Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said cheap and fast broadband Internet services were now considered basic human rights and she pledged to improve information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure to catch up with South Korea by 2016.
In a meeting with leaders of the ICT sector, Tsai unveiled her policies for the industry with an emphasis on broadband Internet service, which she said should be the foundation for all industries as well as people’s lives.
Citing statistics by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Tsai said the average download speed in Taiwan was 20 times slower than that of South Korea, which is unacceptable for a country with advanced ICT development such as Taiwan.
The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking re-election, has not done enough to develop the sector as Ma’s 12 i-Taiwan Projects only managed to provide any resident who has a mobile number 512 kilobits per second of free bandwidth, she said.
If she were elected next month, Tsai said, her administration would build up infrastructure for broadband services and lower Internet fees so broadband speeds would catch up to South Korea’s by 2016.
She would not stop there, she added, as the government should also think ahead and engage in the establishment of an optical-fiber network and 4G mobile broadband service.
More importantly, neither the government nor any private firms should monopolize the “last mile” and make extravagant profits out of it, she said.
She also pledged to promote the industry of Internet-based innovation and establish a digital creative fund, which focuses on tasks such as developing mobile applications, to create 30,000 local job opportunities.
The government would collaborate with private companies to establish a cloud-computing platform for digital creative content and develop Taiwan into the global center of digital creative content.
Tsai said the government should help the sector with a well-planned system on funding and support and try to develop the industry, which is one of a few with economic and strategic significance for Taiwan, and make Taiwan a “silicon island” and a global leader in digital content.
Tsai is expected to challenge Ma today on what the DPP describes as his miserable performance, in the first of three televised presidential platform presentations, the party said.
Tsai, Ma and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) are scheduled to participate in three presentations — scheduled for today, Dec. 30 and Jan. 6 — which will be broadcast live by various TV stations.
The format of the presentations is fundamentally different from the two presidential debates, which were held on Dec. 3 and Dec. 17, with no question-and-answer session for candidates to pose questions to each other, said a DPP aide, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
However, candidates could still take the opportunity to attack their opponents, he said, adding that if Ma attacked Tsai over the so-called “Yu Chang case,” Tsai would be forced to question Ma on his role in the merger of Fubon Bank and TaipeiBank.
The “Yu Chang case” refers to the allegation by KMT lawmakers that there were irregularities in Tsai’s endorsement of a government investment in a biotechnology joint venture in 2007. The Fubon case refers to the DPP’s accusation that there was a conflict of interest when Ma was Taipei mayor in the merger between Taipei Bank and Fubon Bank.