The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it was optimistic that the nation could make a full transition to digital cable television services by 2014, but added that it needed more policy support from the Cabinet.
“It is challenging, but not a hopeless cause,” NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said.
As of yesterday, the nation’s digital cable TV service penetration rate was 18.16 percent. The Cabinet’s goal is to achieve 100 percent penetration by 2014.
Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), director of the commission’s communications management department, said the commission lacks the authority to enforce some of the changes needed to meet the Cabinet’s goal.
“We hope the Executive Yuan will soon approve relevant regulations so the commission will have the authority to take the necessary measures [to meet the goal],” Huang said.
At present, the commission can only encourage cable TV service operators to speed up the provision of digital services through several administrative measures. One of them was the annual review of service rates proposed by cable TV operators, with the provision of digital cable TV services used as one of the crucial criteria to raise or lower service fees.
Huang said the commission has amended regulations allowing cable TV operators to terminate analog services if 60 percent of their subscribers have switched to digital service.
Yu said that several cable TV operators had promised to increase their penetration rates to 50 percent next year when the commission reviewed their proposed service rates this year.
The commission also confirmed that it had received five applications from existing and new cable operators interested in branching out into new service areas.
Two of the operators are from New Taipei City, one from Taipei and two from Greater Taichung, the commission said, but it did not disclose their names.
In related news, four television channels were fined or given warning for violating rules on product placement in TV programs.
Formosa TV was fined a total of NT$300,000 for promoting some products in two of its programs. Taiwan Yam TV was fined NT$200,000 for introducing a Japanese sesame oil in one of its popular shows.
Discovery and SET Metro channels were given warnings.
While the commission has eased regulations on products placements, TV networks must still follow the law, Yu said.
He said that there must be a clear distinction between programs and commercials, and product logos must not be overexposed.
Neither should TV programs encourage consumption of the products, he said.
TV programs are also obligated to disclose the names of their sponsors, Yu added.
Meanwhile, Videoland drama channel was fined a total of NT$400,000 for its Thai television series Kaew Lorm Petch, with two of the episodes containing violence deemed inappropriate for minors.
Unique business channel was fined NT$300,000 for airing supernatural content in one of its programs, which is also inappropriate for minors, the commission said.