The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday asked academics to discuss the cross-strait service trade agreement based on facts, instead of misleading the public with hearsay.
The commission gave a point-by-point rebuttal of what it said were rumors after National Chiao Tung University professor Lin Ying-dar (林盈達) and National Taiwan University Lin Tsung-nan (林宗男) said the pact would allow Chinese nationals to enter telecommunication facilities and severely jeopardize the nation’s information safety.
NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said the pact only allows Chinese service providers to hold up to 50 percent of shares in second-tier telecom carriers. He said these carriers must lease facilities from the first-tier telecom carriers, such as Chunghwa Telecom or Taiwan Mobile, to offer service.
Among the services provided by second-tier telecom carriers, Yu said the trade pact only permits Chinese companies to invest in three services, including store and forward network services, store and retrieve network services and data exchange communication services.
“Subscribers using these three services are mostly corporate users and operate in closed networks,” Yu said. “Corporate users pay more attention to information safety than general users and are unlikely to have the network linked to the Internet, which is an open environment and would put the corporate network at risk. In that case, Chinese investors are not going to obtain personal information on Taiwanese through these three services.”
Yu added that the commission has already banned Chinese nationals from entering telecommunication facilities owned by Taiwanese carriers. Though Taiwan allows Chinese investment in computer maintenance companies, First and second-tier carriers are not allowed to hire their services, nor are they allowed to ask any of these Chinese-funded companies to manage the telecommunication facilities on their behalf.
While Far Eastone Telecommunication signed an investment agreement with China Mobile in 2009, which was valid for three years, Yu said the agreement has already lost effect as the government has yet to allow Chinese investment in Taiwanese telecom carriers.
The commission further rejected accusations from the two professors, saying that the US, Japan and the EU had opened their telecom service sectors to Chinese investors through the WTO.
The three services that would be opened under the trade pact generated annual revenue of about NT$356 million (US$11.66 million), the commission said, adding that the nation has only 21 operators offering these services. The technology used in these services is rather outdated, it added.