NCC approves CNS cable television service

HEALTHY COMPETITION::The commission said it approved the application to facilitate the development of digital cable services and safeguard the interests of consumers

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Dec 26, 2013 - Page 3

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday approved an application from MBK Partners, the largest shareholder of China Network Systems (CNS,中嘉), to establish a new cable television service in New Taipei City (新北市).

The nation’s second-largest multiple-service operator (MSO) garnered attention last year for its intended sale to the Want Want China Times Group. The deal has yet to be finalized after the commission set strict requirements for Want Want to meet before being allowed to purchase CNS’ cable TV services.

The commission said the application was filed under Malaysia-based Evergreen Jade SND, BHD, which stated it would invest in a new cable operator through a multiple-level investment scheme.

CNS owns 100 percent of the new cable operator, which would offer digital cable service.

The commission said in a statement that the application was approved, as it would facilitate the development of digital cable services, promote consumers’ interests and accelerate competition in the market.

The approval only allows the cable operator to offer its service in New Taipei City and the operator would need to file another application if it intended to branch out into other service areas, the commission said.

Based on the operational plan submitted by the investor, the construction of the new cable television system would be conducted in three stages.

The investor said the service would be launched after the service coverage rate exceeds 30 percent of the total and the system secures certification and permission from the NCC. It also promised that it would follow the nation’s policy of introducing a la carte pricing scheme for the cable television service by 2017. It further pledged to offer subscribers broadband Internet service of 100Mbps and two set-top boxes for each viewing household with no deposit or monthly fee required.

CNS owns New Visual Wave (新視波), a cable-service provider in Jhonghe (中和) and Yonghe (永和) in New Taipei City, as well as Shulin (樹林)-based cable operator Gaho TV.

Many were suspicious about why the MSO decided to invest in the infrastructure upgrade and even follow the government’s policy on digitization of cable services after urging the commission last year to quickly approve its sale to Want Want. Andy Hsieh (謝煥乾), director of the commission’s operation administration department, said the legal system does not ban MSOs from launching a new cable service.

“[CNS] said that it hoped that cable services within the system can compete for one another for better performances,” he said. “It also said that it would be easier for them to provide a digital TV service if it has a specific firm handling the service.”

Market analysts said it was too early to determine whether CNS’ branching out to New Taipei City would affect the cable service market.