Tue, Mar 27, 2018 - Page 4 News List

NCC sets hard floor for Internet speeds

NO SURPRISES:Phone companies under the commission’s latest rules are to notify subscribers who have racked up more than NT$5,000 in roaming expenses abroad

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Telecom companies could face fines of up to NT$3 million (US$102,905) if their fourth-generation (4G) telecom services keep failing to deliver average mobile Internet download speeds of 2 megabit per second (Mbps), after the National Communications Commission (NCC) last week passed new regulations on the quality of mobile broadband services.

The rules are to take effect by the middle of next month, the commission said.

It said the nation has 22.89 million active 4G network user accounts, adding that the new rules, which were based on Article 72 of the Regulations Governing Mobile Telecommunications Business (行動寬頻業務管理規則), should encourage telecoms to enhance 4G service quality and satisfaction among subscribers.

The rules require telecom carriers to publicly display the download speed of their mobile Internet on their home pages and at their stores, alongside other information. The average download speed must be at least 2Mbps.

Telecoms also need to notify subscribers through text messages when they rack up NT$5,000 in international roaming bills.

The rules further require that subscribers be sent natural disaster warning messages through Cell Broadcast messaging.

Telecom carriers must protect subscribers’ data and have their data protection mechanisms certified. Subscribers should not be charged for services they do not request and telecoms should offer prospective subscribers estimates of the monthly cost before they sign contracts.

Telecoms must self-report download speeds, which the commission would verify through random checks, and they would be asked to improve if the claims are not met, NCC Telecommunications Administration Department Deputy Director Liang Wen-hsing (梁溫馨) said.

Should telecom carriers fail to improve, they would face fines of NT$300,000 to NT$3 million, Liang said, adding that they would be fined repeatedly until they address the situation.

In response to online comments that the commission is setting a low bar, NCC spokesperson Weng Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that it had a look at similar regulations in the US, UK, Singapore and Australia before setting the standards.

Unlike landline services, mobile Internet speeds depend on the number of people making use of the same base station, Weng said.

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