Fri, May 04, 2018 - Page 4 News List

NCC calls for more talks on fees

SERVICE OUTAGE:The commission said it was concerned that cable subscribers would be unable to access content due to the ongoing dispute between Formosa TV and TBC

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) on Wednesday ordered Formosa TV to give Taiwan Broadband Communications (TBC) a temporary content authorization as the two were asked to continue negotiations on authorization fees.

The dispute began when Formosa TV insisted that TBC pay content authorization fees for three of the network’s channels: Formosa News, Formosa Taiwan and Follow Me TV. However, as TBC only intended to carry Formosa News, it refused to pay the fees for the other two channels.

Based on an earlier negotiation arbitrated by the commission, Formosa TV had agreed to give TBC a temporary authorization to broadcast its content until Monday.

The two on Monday failed to reach an agreement on the fees for the 11th time, the commission said, adding that Formosa TV then gave TBC another temporary authorization, which expired yesterday.

The commission has sought to end the dispute by focusing only on the content authorization fee for Formosa News, NCC spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.

“Surveys conducted by local governments have shown that Formosa News is one of the most popular news channels in the nation,” Wong said. “It is also one of the must-carry channels, which local governments need to consider when they review subscription fees proposed by cable system operators each year.”

As negotiations have failed to produce any positive outcome, the commission is concerned that cable service subscribers would not be able to access content on the channel after the latest authorization expires, he said.

“The commission has ruled that TBC and Formosa TV have until May 15 to reach a settlement,” Wong said. “They can do so by retaining a third-party arbitrator from the private sector, or taking other action.”

“Before an agreement is reached, TBC must not remove Formosa News from its channel lineup, while Formosa TV must not stop transmissions and must continue to authorize TBC to broadcast its content,” he said.

Asked what other action the two parties can take, Wong said they can continue to ask the commission to arbitrate the dispute or file civil lawsuits.

Formosa TV has also been ordered to disclose to the commission the content fees it plans to charge cable system operators that only intend to carry the network’s news channel, he said.

TBC has also been asked to provide its contracts with Formosa TV for the past three years, which the commission can use as a reference, he added.

If the interests of subscribers are compromised because of the dispute, Formosa TV could face a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$1 million (US$3,362 and US$33,622) in accordance with the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法), while cable operators could face fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$3 million under the Cable Radio and Television Act (有線廣播電視法), Wong said.

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