Tue, May 22, 2012 - Page 2 News List

China ‘invades’ Taiwanese radio

MAKING WAVES:The NCC called for cross-strait talks to solve the problem of Chinese radio signals overpowering Taiwanese AM frequencies to disseminate propaganda

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

National Communications Commission Chairperson Su Herng talks during a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairperson Su Herng (蘇蘅) yesterday said an “invasion” of the radio waves by China was something that needed to be settled through cross-strait negotiations.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported earlier this month that a number of China-based radio stations, including China National Radio, Voice of China and Voice of Strait, were taking up AM radio frequencies in southern Taiwan.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said residents in southern Taiwan were able to hear the programs aired from these radio stations clearly, which contained a political agenda coated with discussions on art, fashion and other innocuous subjects.

Huang said Taiwan should intensify the power of local AM radio stations to stop the invasion by Chinese radio stations.

In response, Su said the matter would need to be resolved through talks between the two sides.

“We have contacted the Mainland Affairs Council and asked it to place the issue on the agenda for cross-strait negotiations,” Su said.

She said Huang’s proposal was not viable because it could potentially disrupt the signals of local radio stations as well.

Su was briefing lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee on amendments to the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), the Cable Radio and Television Act (有線廣播電視法) and the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法).

Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Ming-chen (林明溱) asked if the commission had decided to amend the Telecommunications Act (電信法), requesting that Chunghwa Telecom Co to give up control of the Last Mile, the final leg in the process of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer.

Under the commission’s proposed amendment, an independent company would be established to manage last mile facilities that would be separate from the operation of Chunghwa. The independent company would then set an identical price for all telecoms carriers using the service.

Su said the proposed amendment still required a lot of discussion.

“It [the amendment] is not as easy as some people imagine,” Su said. “We have to determine if Chunghwa’s control of the last mile is indeed a bottleneck that prevents fair competition in the market. It is still too early to say whether a separate company should be formed [to manage the operation of the last mile].”

As the nation aims for the penetration rate of digital cable TV to reach 100 percent by 2014, DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said the commission should consider setting a reasonable service fee for each TV channel so that the customers can choose the number of channels they want to see and pay for them.

Currently, customers can only subscribe to package deals offered by cable service providers, which normally contain 100 or more cable channels.

Su said the commission has yet to evaluate reasonable channel service fees, but that it would consider amending the Cable Radio and Television Act so consumers can choose which channels they want.

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