NCC Chairman Shyr non-committal on Web mobile usage

TURNING OFF THE WEB::Shyr said there was ‘no such thing as canceling’ unlimited mobile Internet access and it was not the commission’s purpose

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 - Page 3

National Communications Commission Chairman Howard Shyr (石世豪) said the commission does not have an opinion on whether mobile devices with unlimited Internet access should be canceled, but encourages telecommunication companies to present clearer and better plans to consumers.

Last month, Minister Without Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政) urged telecommunications companies to stop providing “all-you-can-eat” Internet access services — monthly rates that allow users to have unlimited Internet access via mobile phones or tablet computers — because users have taken up most of the bandwidth and are causing a slowdown in Internet connection speeds.

On Sunday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said he agreed with Chang that unlimited mobile Internet access is the main reason for mobile Internet congestion and that “canceling unlimited mobile Internet access is only a matter of time” — whether during the current 3G network period or after switching to 4G in the coming years.

While responding to legislators questions at the legislature’s Transportation Committee meeting yesterday about whether canceling the service would really improve connection speeds, Shyr said: “According to data provided by several objective studies, most users actually only use a small amount of Internet bandwidth or data transmission, [so] the issue should be treated rationally.”

“There is no such thing as canceling it [unlimited mobile Internet access]” Shyr said, adding that the commission has no fixed opinion on the issue and it only ensures the plans of telecommunication companies are in accordance with regulations.

“Of course, if telecommunication companies want to come up with new service plans, such as payment by installment or other plans that offer more transparent information that is beneficial to consumers, that would be welcomed by the commission,” he added.

At a Modern Engineering and Technology Seminar yesterday, Chang restated his opinion about canceling unlimited mobile Internet services, saying that telecommunications companies have a responsibility to educate the public that wireless Internet bandwidth is a limited resource.

Most people are not actually heavy users of the service, but they may be worried about canceling because they have no sense about their average Internet usage, he said.

Chang suggested that companies start by informing users about how much they access the Internet by printing it on payment bills.