While the government has set a goal of achieving a 100 percent penetration rate for digital cable television services by next year, results of a survey carried out by the National Communications Commission (NCC) showed that there remains a huge divide between the rollout of services in different parts of the nation.
The commission said the survey aimed to ascertain the penetration rate of digital set-top boxes (STB) in each administrative region in the first quarter of this year.
A STB is a device that receives encoded or compressed digital signals from the signal source and decodes or decompresses those signals, converting them into signals for analog TVs.
The survey showed that the digital service penetration rate in the north — from Keelung to Miaoli County — is in general above 20 percent, varying from 23.5 percent to more than 31 percent.
Chiayi City has the nation’s highest digital penetration rate at nearly 41 percent, followed by Greater Tainan and Chiayi County, with penetration rates topping 39 percent and 38 percent respectively.
However, Taitung and Hualien counties reported the lowest penetration rates in the nation, which with both achieving a digital rollout of less than 1 percent.
The average penetration rate for digital cable service was 25.27 percent in the first quarter of this year, while 10 administrative regions reported rates below the national average.
The commission said that the survey would be conducted once a quarter and the results can be viewed on its Web site.
In related news, the commission said that it plans to hold a public hearing soon on the change of management of Next TV Broadcasting, adding that it would seek opinions on the deal from media experts, media associations and civic groups.
The network was sold to ERA TV chairman Lien Tai-sheng (練台生) in April for NT$1.4 billion (US$46.8 million). Lien also owns small cable television services on the east coast.
The commission said that it is seeking expert opinion on several issues, including problems resulting from the cable service provider owning more than a quarter of the TV channels featured in its programming.