Thu, Mar 17, 2016 - Page 3 News List

NCC proposes TV subscription plans to increase options

’A LA CARTE’:Under the terms of the proposal, subscribers would be able to pay for channels they want to watch in addition to the must-carry channels

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday proposed two new cable TV subscription plans to allow consumers more options.

Currently, cable TV subscribers pay a flat rate, which gives them access to more than 100 channels.

The commission aims to digitize cable TV next year, by which time cable service providers are also to adopt a tiered pricing scheme for services offered to subscribers.

The commission said that it would propose five plans in total, including three other tiered plans that the commission already proposed in 2013.

Before submitting these plans to the legislature for further review, the commission plans to host a hearing to guage public opinion.

According to the commission, the two service plans are different from the ones it proposed three years ago, because the cap on the monthly subscription fee is removed, which was previously between NT$500 and NT$600.

In addition, subscribers would be able to select an a la carte plan, in which they can choose and pay for the channels they want to watch in addition to the must-carry channels.

Asked why the commission has decided to remove the cap on the cable subscription fee, commission spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said that cable service operators now face competition from the Multimedia on Demand service offered by Chunghwa Telecom and over-the-top content providers from other nations.

Under the new rules, cable providers would be able to offer services in more than one service area, making it less likely for them to disregard market pressure and raise prices.

He also said that an amendment to the Cable Television Act (有線廣播電視法) was passed by the legislature in January last year, in which pay channels and pay-per-view channels are allowed to air commercials.

Under the proposal, Yu said that cable operators would be able to group channels into various packages for subscribers to choose, making it unnecessary to keep the cap.

In addition, under the terms of the proposal, subscribers would be given one week to try the new service, and would be able to terminate the contract at no penalty if they were dissatisfied, Yu said.

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