Thu, Apr 10, 2014 - Page 4 News List

NCC offers cable service operators fee flexibility

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Cable service operators will be able to raise their monthly service fees if they agree to several conditions, although the NT$600 per month cap for the fee remains, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday, after it approved a proposal to allow operators more flexibility in adjusting their subscription fees.

Chi Hsiao-cheng (紀效正), a specialist in the commission’s department of planning, said that the plan was drafted as an incentive to encourage more operators to offer digital cable services.

“All the cable operators are required to provide their customers a la carte service plans by 2017, with the channels using digital signals to broadcast their programs,” Chi said. “This plan was designed to motivate cable operators to speed up their efforts and reward those reaching that goal earlier than the government’s designated deadline.”

Operators can set their own monthly subscription fee each year, which must be approved by either service fee review boards of the local governments of the areas they operate in or by the commission.

Given the slow progress cable operators have made toward providing digital services, the NCC has chosen in recent years to either reject the annual applications to raise fees or asked them to accept a fee lower than the one they proposed.

“Should the cable operators fulfill the conditions that we propose, we would consider approving a reasonable adjustment in their monthly fees,” Chi said.

The conditions include providing 100 percent digital cable services, offering value-added services to subscribers, making multiple service options available, disclosing full information about the service contract and protecting consumers’ rights, Chi said.

Government moves

‧ To spur cable service operators to embrace digital cable service, the National Communications Commission said they will be able to raise subscription fees if they meet several conditions.

‧ The Food and Drug Administration is drawing up restrictions on the promotion of junk food, including a ban on TV ads on channels for children.

However, the incentive plan would only be in effect until the nation transitions fully to digital cable services, Chi said.

In other developments in Taipei, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said that it will soon provide a list of regulations governing the promotion of food considered unsuitable for children to consume over a long period and banning television commercials for junk food from appearing on 14 children or youth channels.

FDA Deputy Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said the agency has been soliciting different opinions on the regulations since November last year, and it will discuss the details with experts before releasing them to the public later this year.

Under the proposed regulations, potato chips, sodas, fried chicken, French fries, cakes, pastries and sugary beverages will be considered inappropriate for children to consume over the long term.

The regulations will also offer a clear definition of junk food, including percentages of fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, calcium and sugar in such foods.

They will also bar businesses selling such foodstuffs from encouraging their consumption by giving out free toys or offering discounts on the purchase of toys.

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