The Taipei City Government yesterday apologized for a 10-hour shutdown of its Taipei Free wireless service on Thursday and penalized the service provider with a NT$420,000 (US$14,300) fine for poor maintenance.
The service was shut down at 10:37am on Thursday due to an overload of one of the six access gateways. The system provider, Q-ware Communications Co, was unable to fix the problem until 8:32pm, drawing complaints from users.
Q-ware Communications network division manager Hsiang Tsui (崔友祥) apologized for the malfunction and promised to conduct an overall examination of its infrastructure next week, and improve the quality of its equipment to provide a better and stable service.
Tsui dismissed a suggestion that the company overlooked the impact that increasing numbers of users of the service would have on the network, saying it has invested more than NT$200 million on equipment to offer high-quality wireless service since obtaining the contract from the city government last year.
Department of Information Technology Commissioner Chan Te-tsun (詹德存) yesterday blamed the company for the malfunction. He said the department fined the company NT$420,000 in accordance with the contract, which states that the system provider should take full responsibility for system shutdowns caused by equipment or network malfunctions.
“We will make sure that the company fix the problem and improve its service. Otherwise we could end the contract,” he said.
Usage of the Taipei Free wireless program climbed to 4 million users by August this year. The number of daily users is about 70,000 on week days and 150,000 on weekends.
The Taipei Free wireless program was a major campaign platform of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and he promised to build a free wireless environment in the city offering fast and stable wireless service to all residents.
The department has instructed the company to set up more than 4,000 access points around the city. The service has a 512Kbps connection speed.
Taiwanese and Alien Resident Certificate holders can register for a free account using their mobile telephone number, while foreign visitors can use their passport number to apply for the service at Taipei International Airport (Songshan Airport) and visitor information centers throughout the city.