Tue, Nov 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Agencies criticized for blocking cell stations

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Government agencies have failed to comply with regulations by refusing to allow the installation of cellphone base stations on their properties, leading to slow mobile Internet nationwide, members of the legislature’s Transportation Committee said yesterday.

The main reason mobile Internet connection speeds remain slow is because government officials refuse to allow base stations to be installed on their properties, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said.

Telecoms between 2014 and August filed 6,515 applications to build base stations on government-owned property, but only 503 applications have been approved, he said.

“I just cannot agree with the National Communications Commission’s report that government agencies have been helpful in facilitating the construction of base stations on government property,” he said.

Article 32 of the Telecommunications Act (電信法) states that government authorities shall not reject requests to use public land or buildings for the establishment of conduit infrastructure and terminal equipment, Chen said.

Not only have government agencies refused to cooperate, but their refusal will not lead to any penalties and the commission will not condemn them, Chen said.

The commission should be more active in coordinating with other government agencies and disclose a list of agencies that are refusing to cooperate, Chen said.

Independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) said he agrees that government agencies should be leading efforts to increase the number of base stations, but questioned the propriety of installing stations on the properties of public elderly care centers, where they might intimidate the residents.

In response, commission Chairwoman Nicole Chan (詹婷怡) said that it has stepped up efforts to communicate with government agencies.

“Our position is that all government agencies must comply, but we need to consider how people feel about the presence of base station on some properties, even though their effect might be minimal,” she said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) and Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) were concerned about the nation’s progress in the development of fifth-generation (5G) telecom service.

South Korea and Japan aim to launch 5G commercial operations by 2019 and 2020 respectively, Lee said.

The government should reserve some of the unlicensed bands to encourage the creation of innovative services, as 5G service would offer faster and more efficient Internet connections, Yeh added.

Chan said that the commission aims to have the frequency bands needed for the development of 5G service ready by 2020, regardless of whether the nation can launch the service by then.

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