Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Proposed act to benefit telecoms

WATCHFUL EYE:The NCC said that the degree of regulation would vary on whether carriers use any rare public resources or connect to public networks

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairwoman Nicole Chan (詹婷怡) yesterday assured the legislature’s Transportation Committee that the commission would continue to scrutinize telecoms’ operations after the proposed act on telecommunications management (電信管理法) takes effect.

The committee was scheduled to conduct a preliminary review of the draft act, which was proposed by the commission to meet new challenges in the era of digital convergence.

A major difference between the draft act and the existing Telecommunications Act (電信法) is that providers would not be required to hold government-issued licenses before they can operate.

Instead, they could register with the commission as telecoms, provided that the commission has approved their applications.

Providers are preparing themselves for the introduction of 5G services, even though most of them have yet to recoup their costs of building basic infrastructure for 4G services, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Su-yueh (陳素月) said.

She asked whether allowing more carriers to enter the market without setting minimum standards for capital would bring positive changes.

Carriers’ revenues have declined significantly over the years and they would have to introduce innovative services to help raise their revenue, Chan said.

“The existing system requires that they obtain licenses and submit changes to their business plans each time they want to launch new services,” Chan said. “The new act would facilitate the development of innovative services by waiving that requirement.”

“The intensity of regulations for telecoms would vary depending on whether they use radio frequencies or other rare public resources, and whether they are connected to public networks,” Chan said.

Although the draft act does not set minimum capital requirements for telecoms, Chan emphasized that the commission would still review new carriers’ business plans and funding before approving their registration.

“We will not approve applications from companies that promise to build communications networks, but clearly lack the funding to do so,” she said.

DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) asked whether the proposed act would narrow the digital gap between urban and rural areas.

He also asked whether it could help the nation keep up with Japan and South Korea in the development of 5G technology.

Taiwan lagged behind the two countries in the development of a 4G network, Lee said.

Chan said telecoms were required to build more infrastructure in remote areas when bidding for the 4G spectrum last year.

The commission has also tried to obtain funding to improve coverage from the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, she said.

The Cabinet’s Board of Science and Technology is coordinating the development of 5G technology between different government agencies, Chan said, adding that the government would decide whether to use the 3.4GHz and 3.6GHz spectrum to develop 5G.

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