The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday fined Taiwan Fixed Network (TFN) NT$3.6 million (US$124,000) for continuing to use unauthorized telecommunications equipment from China.
NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said the company was found in April 2010 to have used the new telecommunications equipment without first securing permission from the commission and it was fined NT$300,000 for the violation.
Yu said that TFN was found again in May last year to have illegally expanded the installation of the telecommunications equipment and was fined an additional NT$900,000.
The company was told to address the violations within a designated period of time.
Yu said the commission conducted an inspection in January and found the company had failed to address the violations.
The commission imposed a total of NT$1.8 million in fines for the violations after the January inspections.
“The commission performed an administrative inspection again on Oct. 30 and found that the company was still using the illegal equipment,” Yu said. “Based on article 63 of the Telecommunications Act (電信法), as well as the company’s previous record of violations, the commission ruled to fine [TFN] a total of NT$3.6 million for failing to address the violations.”
The ruling means the company’s accumulated penalty for the violations will total NT$6.6 million.
Wu Ming-ren (吳明仁), a senior specialist at the commission, said the commission would continue to penalize the company if it keeps using the unauthorized equipment, with the maximum fine being NT$3 million.
He said that the company’s business license could also be revoked if it keeps refusing to comply with regulations.
Yu refused to confirm whether the company had continued to use equipment manufactured by China-based Huawei Technologies, saying it was a complicated issue that involved national security.
Yu said the company was trying to replace the equipment with new equipment.
However, the company’s proposed new equipment has not been certified by the commission and the commission has yet to approve the company’s proposal, he said.
TFN announced last year that it would spend NT$770 million purchasing communications and IP network equipment from Nokia/Siemens Networks to replace its Chinese equipment “in compliance with the national security policy and the expectations of the administrative authorities.”
Local Chinese-language media have reported that the Chinese equipment was manufactured by Huawei.
The commission said at the time that it was unlikely to approve the network equipment manufactured by Huawei because of national security issues.
Several countries, including Canada and the US, have raised concerns over national security risks from cooperating with Huawei or using its equipment, primarily as a result of the company’s close ties with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).