National Communications Commission (NCC) chairperson Howard Shyr (石世豪) said the NCC is planning to reallocate the nation’s radio spectrums, particularly those frequencies used by Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) service providers.
The move comes following the close of the spectrum auction for fourth-generation (4G) telecommunication services last month, which also included an auction to develop Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, which is also marketed as 4G LTE — a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data.
While the International Telecommunication Union recognizes both LTE and WiMAX as technologies to develop 4G services, the WiMAX service has waned since Intel withdrew its investment in 2010.
Currently, Taiwan’s WiMAX service providers use the 2.6 Gigahertz (GHz) radio bandwidth.
Shyr said that although development of 4G equipment using the 2.6GHz bandwidth was advanced, aside from being used by WiMAX service providers, the rest of the 2.6GHz band is either used only by experimental networks or remains unused.
Shyr said that the 2.6GHz band has nearly 200MHz in bandwidth, and the commission hopes to reconsider how the band should be used after some frequency reallocation.
Shyr made the statement on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Telecommunications Consumer Mediation Center yesterday.
Aside from reallocating the radio bands, Shyr said the commission would also need to handle several critical issues following the 4G spectrum auction.
The issues include the swapping of frequency blocks among telecoms, strategic partnerships forged between different providers, not having set the standards for 4G equipment nor plans to ensure that consumers of second-generation (2G) services can seamlessly migrate to 4G services.
Meanwhile, Shyr said the commission would soon tackle the issues of the “last mile,” adding that the commission has yet to decide if it should address it by amending the Telecommunications Act (電信法) or by combining three media laws and the act.
The last mile refers to the final leg of telecommunication networks delivering communications connectivity to customers.
Currently, the last mile infrastructure is controlled by Chunghwa Telecom, with other telecoms having to lease the company’s infrastructure to offer fixed-line services.
“The last mile advantage has indeed created an obstacle for competition. While amending the Telecommunications Act could solve the problem in the short term, the problems related to the last mile may not be a telecommunications issue,” he said.
Shyr said that the last mile and whether it is possible to bring in a second broadband into homes are all issues to be discussed in the hearing.