Taiwan Fixed Network (TFN) was fined NT$4.8 million (US$158,500) yesterday for illegally constructing and using a communication network that was not inspected and approved by the National Communications Commission (NCC).
Media reports said TFN was using a core communication network produced by Chinese manufacturers, a practice that is banned in Taiwan.
TFN is a member of the Fubon Group.
The commission said that the company was first found to be using the unapproved communications equipment in April 2010, and one month later, the operator was discovered to have illegally expanded the illicit network.
The incidents are being considered as two separate violations, the commission said.
Before being handed yesterday’s penalty, the operator had been fined a total of NT$11.4 million for its continual failure to rectify both violations.
Yesterday’s fine brings the total penalties incurred by TFN to NT$16.2 million, making it the highest fine ever issued by the commission for that type of violation.
“Even though it has shown signs of improvement, the commission still decided in favor of fining the TFN for violating communications system regulations,” NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said.
Meanwhile, the Fubon Group suffered another setback in its investment in the cable TV industry after Yeong Jia Leh Cable TV — one of its cable services — was denied its application to expand its services in New Taipei City.
According to the Cable Television Act (有線廣播電視法), media outlets are prohibited from receiving direct or indirect investment from political parties, the government and the military.
Based on the investment structure data provided by the commission, Yeong Jia Leh is fully owned by TFN, whose shareholders include Taiwan Mobile, Fubon Life Insurance and Taipei Fubon Bank.
All these companies are owned directly or indirectly by Fubon Financial Holding Co.
However, the Taipei City Government owns 14.07 percent of Fubon Financial Holding, which means the city government indirectly owns about 0.67 percent of Yeong Jia Leh.
Yu said that a draft amendment to the act allows for indirect investment from the government, political parties and the military for up to 5 percent of the shareholding.
However, the commission can only approve Yeong Jia Leh’s application after the amendment has been passed by the legislature, he said.