The nation has fallen behind other countries in terms of broadband service infrastructure and a new plan ensuring that 80 percent of households have access to a fixed network service with transmission speeds of 100Megabit per second (Mbps) by 2015 is being drawn, National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairwoman Su Herng (蘇蘅) said yesterday.
Su made the remarks while briefing lawmakers on a policy making access to broadband Internet a human right.
Aside from having broadband Internet reaching 80 percent of the nation’s households, the commission’s report also said that the nation also aims to provide a fiber optics service to 6 million households.
Meanwhile, 2 million households will receive access to wireless broadband.
However, legislators accused the commission of passing the buck by making such slow progress on broadband service infrastructure.
They also questioned whether the commission could actually deliver what it has promised.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said the commission might be overly optimistic about having 100Mbps service reach 80 percent of households within three years, because a majority of households still use services with a transmission speed of between 2Mbps and 10Mbps.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) quoted from research results from Speednet.net that showed that Taiwan’s average downlink speed was 18.60Mbps, which is ranked 13th globally.
The average uplink speed was only 3.04Mbps, ranked 41st.
The commission must ensure that telecoms carriers address the problem, she said.
DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said the nation has about 17 million people using the Internet. On average, they spend two or three hours online daily.
He said the nation’s broadband service speed was 13Mbps, which was much lower the average broadband speed of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations of 37.5Mbps.
Lee said that the nation also falls behind South Korea, which now has the ability to provide services measured in gigabits per second (Gbps).
“People have bought tickets to see a Major League Baseball game, and they ended up watching a game in the Minor League,” Lee said, using an analogy to describe how Taiwanese pay very high fees for a very slow Internet connection speeds.
Other legislators also blamed the telecoms carriers for not doing enough to invest in the broadband Internet infrastructure.
KMT Legislator Chen Ken-te (陳根德) threatened to propose a no-confidence motion against Chunghwa Telecom’s chairman and president if it did not improve its service quality.
“Let’s not forget that the government holds only 30 percent of the company’s shares, the rest of the shares are held by foreign investors,” Chen said. “We cannot allow a company whose total revenue was NT$270 billion [US$9.14 billion] last year to exploit our people.”
DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said all the telecoms carriers needed to increase their investment in infrastructure, not just Chunghwa.
“These companies raised billions of dollars from the investors when they started. Where has all the money gone?” Yeh asked.
In response, Su said that the nation aimed to catch up with South Korea, adding that it needs to tackle several issues first.
She also said that Chunghwa is planning to invest NT$200 billion to shore up its broadband infrastructure, adding that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the largest shareholder in Chunghwa, should supervise its progress.