Mr. Yeh specializes in telecommunications and media law, cyberspace and E-commerce, intellectual property, antitrust & competition law and legislative lobbying.
Mr. Yeh's practice focuses on high tech industry transactions with an emphasis on telecom and broadcasting, including regulatory analysis, IPR licensing, drafting contracts and official documents and other matters. He has assisted international cable program providers applying for pay channel licenses from the broadcasting authority and represented domestic cable operators and multinational satellite operators on diverse issues, including planning, negotiating, drafting agreements and lobbying regarding modifications on regulatory matters.
Mr. Yeh has participated in various research projects, including a "Strategy
Analysis on the Telecom Market in Mainland China", commissioned by a major
mobile service operator; "Digital Taiwan: Increasing Broadband Access Penetration"
commissioned by STAG of the Executive Yuan and Draft of Basic Law of Communications
and Broadcasting commissioned by the Government Information Office (GIO).
He has published articles periodically on the "Elite Online Legal Forum" (http://www.elitelaw.com) on the subjects of E-commerce, Spam, Telecommunication, Broadcasting and Intellectual Property, including "Whose Rules Does the Broadband Follow: the Regulated or the Unregulated?", "Winner's Curse: Additional Spectrum Released for 3G Service", "Do you Decrypt the Code?" and "24 Years Waiting: Analysis of the Draft Bill of China Telecommunication Act".
The National Communications Commission has announced that from 2013, three frequency bands – 700 megahertz (MHz), 900MHz and 1800MHz – which are equivalent to the bandwidth of 135MHz x 2 will be released for auction. However, the most surprising news is that the frequency bands will be released in units of 5MHz x 2, which some see as a revenue-raising tactic by the government.
The Legislative Yuan organised a special session to approve the four new commissioners of the National Communications Commission nominated by the premier. Although all legislators from the opposition parties and some ruling party legislators voted against the nominees, all four still received a majority of the votes and have now taken office.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications recently solicited public opinions regarding the deregulation of new mobile communications services (ie, the attention-grabbing plan for fourth-generation (4G) licensing). According to the consultation paper released by the ministry, the scope of 4G licensing will be limited to 700 megahertz (MHz), 900 MHz and 1800 MHz in the future under the principle of technology neutrality.
The National Communications Commission recently conducted a public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Telecommunications Act. The changes include a proposed functional separation of Chunghwa Telecom, so that its last-mile connection is released and can be shared by all telecommunications operators. The company opposes what it believes to be tantamount to a structural break-up.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs recently announced the third wave of sectors which have been opened to investment by Chinese investors. Type I telecommunications businesses still have not been deregulated. Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer, has been seeking to set up a subsidiary in Taiwan; however, it has yet to obtain approval from the Taiwanese government.
After approving Chunghwa Telecom's application for the Kinmen-Xiamen Submarine Cable Deployment Project, the National Communications Commission has now further approved a submarine cable link between Taiwan and China's Fujian Province. The entire project is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2012.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has officially requested that telecommunications operators which provide internet services should guarantee the minimum speed and bandwidth set forth in their promotional programmes. The NCC released its new requirement immediately after the Fair Trade Commission imposed a NT$5 million fine on Chunghwa Telecom for false and misleading advertising.
The National Communications Commission has approved Chunghwa Telecom's most recent plan for a uniform tariff for local and domestic long-distance calls nationwide. Local and long-distance calls from a household fixed-line phone will now be charged at NT$1.60 (US$0.05) per three minutes. During discounted time slots, calls will be charged be at NT$1 per three minutes – this is the lowest local call tariff worldwide.
Hopes have been raised for an earlier launch of fourth-generation (4G) operations by the news that the Science and Technology Advisory Group of the Executive Yuan is coordinating with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the National Communications Commission on plans to use the 700 megahertz spectrum or idle frequency bands around 2.6 gigahertz for 4G services.
The National Communications Commission has approved Chunghwa Telecom's application for the Kinmen-Xiamen Submarine Cable Deployment Project. The cable will initially have a bandwidth capacity transmission speed of 9.6 terabytes per second. According to Chunghwa Telecom, the project is scheduled for completion by March 2012 and the construction cost is estimated at around $14 million.
As part of Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile's plans to expand their networks and base stations in order to provide high-speed internet access and accommodate ever-growing mobile internet access demands, they intend to break away from the current system in which no differentiation is made between heavy and light users. However, the National Communications Commission opposes this plan.
The government is once again considering WiMAX deregulation and its possible future. The Executive Yuan recently called a meeting to review strategies to address the plight of WiMAX operators. Among the proposals, the Ministry of Economic Affairs recommended that operators be allowed to consolidate among themselves before they are required to achieve the deployment threshold of 70% population coverage.
The National Communications Commission has confirmed that it has sent letters to all telecommunications operators in order to compel them to submit a list of all the network equipment included in past and present procurement projects that was manufactured by Chinese vendors.
Chunghwa Telecom has lowered its retail prices for both its 50Mbps/3Mbps and 20Mbps/2Mbps FTTx broadband services in the hope that the promotional plan would enable most broadband users to upgrade to the higher speed plans. In light of various reasons, the National Communications Commission urged Chunghwa to lower its wholesale prices for FTTx services, but it did so by between 1% and 2.5% only.
The Taipei High Administrative Court recently upheld the National Communications Commission decision to force Chunghwa Telecom to remove certain restrictions on its fibre-to-the-home high-speed internet service, Hinet FTTx. In deciding to apply the net neutrality principle narrowly, the NCC appears to have set out its position regarding non-discrimination in the provision of telecommunications services.
The National Communications Commission has confirmed a unified rate of telephone calls from offshore islands to anywhere on the Taiwanese mainland. This is the first step in achieving the goal of 'unified rate' calls nationwide, which means that there will be no more long-distance calls in Taiwan. The commission announced that the new measure will come into effect from early 2012.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) intends to introduce more competition into the converging television service market through the rezoning of digital cable television franchises and the introduction of tiered service packages. Existing operators have cautiously welcomed these policy-driven measures, but have requested further deregulation on price capping and on limitations on business expansion.
The National Communications Commission has decided to loosen the restrictions on Chunghwa Telecom's multimedia-on-demand service by amending the Cable Television Act. With this amendment, the NCC has allowed Chunghwa Telecom to integrate vertically in order to compete with cable multiple system operators which enjoy similar market conditions.
After lengthy discussions and intensive legal work, the National Communications Commission has finally announced that international submarine cable operators may apply for licences to deploy direct submarine cables across the strait between Taiwan and China.
The National Communications Commission has announced its amendments to the Regulations Governing Fixed-Network Telecommunications Businesses, allowing for the development of direct submarine cables across the straits between Taiwan and China. The relevant legal matters have now been approved.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has announced plans to allow cables to be laid connecting Taiwan and other offshore islands to China. However, the National Communications Commission will continue to restrict mutual investment between cross-strait telecommunications operators.
Three new commissioners have been inaugurated into the National Communications Commission. Among other things, the new commissoners are charged with setting policy regarding the digitalisation of cable broadband services and legislative barriers to governmental bodies investing in telecommunications companies.
Three new commissioners have been inaugurated into the National Communications Commission. Su Herng, Chang Si-chung and Wei Shyuo-wen succeeded Bonnie Peng, Lee Ta-sung and Hsieh Chin-nan. Commissioner Liu Chorng-jian was appointed to a second term. All the new commissioners are from the academic sphere.
The Executive Yuan has announced the Digital Convergence Development Policy in order to initiate a two-stage legislative overhaul and develop digital convergence industries. The government plans to relax the restrictions on cross-ownership of telecommunications, broadcasting and internet-based businesses.
In a move that has come as no surprise to the market, Taiwan's third-largest telecommunications company, Far EasTone Telecommunications Co, has announced that its board has approved a public tender offer for shares of its fixed-line subsidiary, New Century InfoComm Tech Co. Far EasTone thus becomes the third operator providing fixed-mobile convergence services.
According to an official, following Intel's unexpected move to dissolve its taskforce on worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) technology, the government plans to review its national fourth-generation (4G) wireless policy. Although Taiwan is one of the strongest supporters of WiMAX technology, equipment makers and operators are concerned about the rise of Long-Term Evolution technology – its 4G rival.
The director general of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications's Department of Post and Telecommunications has announced a plan to release at least five new licences for fourth-generation mobile technologies. Critics argue that the plan appears to invite only those players with deep pockets into the auction process and may force smaller players to consolidate or merge before entering the process.
The National Communications Commission has approved a policy to shift the right to determine the price of a local-to-mobile phone call from the mobile operators to the fixed network operators from January 1 2011. It is estimated that the price of local-to-mobile calls could drop by up to 60%.
The National Communications Commission has reacted positively to the news that Taiwan's incumbent Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access operators intend to convert to Long Term Evolution technology, which is considered to be a fourth-generation mobile technology.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has rejected Chunghwa Telecom's plan to upgrade low-speed ADSL services (ie, those in the 256 kilobytes per second (Kbps) to 512 Kbps, 1 megabit per second (Mbps) to 2 Mbps, and 2 Mbps to 3 Mbps ranges) free of charge due to fears over market competition and quality of service.
The National Communications Commission has issued the final worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) regional licence to First International Telecom. All six WiMAX operators have obtained operation licences to provide mobile broadband servicse in Taiwan since they were awarded regional licences in August 2007.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has announced a proposal to amend the Regulations Governing Tariffs of Type I Telecommunications Enterprises with respect to wholesale price regulation of operators with significant market power. The NCC aims to lower transaction costs among the telecommunications operators and promote the competitiveness of the telecommunications market.
The National Communications Commission has announced an amendment to Article 13 of the Regulations on Telecommunications Universal Service, providing that it may, by March 1 of the year before the year of implementation, announce and appoint the incumbent operators or other Type I telecommunications operators to offer universal data services to specified remote villages.
Taiwan and China have formally signed three new cooperation agreements in the telecommunications sector. However, the National Communications Commission maintained its position regarding the prohibition of Chinese investment in Type I telecommunications operators, despite the fact that the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China is likely to be signed in the near future.
The National Communications Commission has announced a rate reduction plan to cut significantly nationwide mobile phone service rates, reasoning that the cuts will benefit carriers in the long run. The decision has upset many players in the telecommunications industry, which reject the commission's reasoning, oppose its policy and have threatened to appeal should the cuts be implemented.
The National Communications Commission has agreed upon a new rate plan for Internet Protocol peering fees provided by Chunghwa Telecom in order to ease tensions among other internet service providers, including Taiwan Fixed Network. The commission hopes that the savings made by the ISPs due to the reduced peering fees will be passed on to consumers.
The National Communications Commission and Far Eastone Telecommunication (FET) have announced that the first steps have been taken towards reducing the digital divide in certain remote villages by using lines also used for electric power transmission to carry the data needed to provide broadband services. FET will offer free broadband access with speeds of at least two megabits per second to the area until 2011.
The National Communications Commission has announced plans to screen the Internet Protocol peering fees annually rather than biennially, in order to settle the dispute regarding the calculation of such fees payable by Taiwan Fixed Network to Chunghwa Telecom.
The National Communications Commission has decided to amend the Regulations Governing the Third Generation (3G) Mobile Telecommunications Services, adding a requirement for those who supply channel programming over 3G networks to obtain approval or licences pursuant to the same regulatory requirements as other broadcasting services.
Representatives of China and Taiwan have signed a declaration which, among other things, opens the doors to Chinese investment in Taiwan. Just three days later, Far EasTone Telecommunications Limited announced its plans for a strategic cooperation agreement and a share subscription agreement with China Mobile Limited, the world's largest mobile telecommunications operator.
If a proposed bill to amend the Telecommunications Act is passed in the forthcoming general assembly meeting, not only will existing second and third-generation operators be threatened with the removal of their base stations, but the would-be operators of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access will be left with nowhere to construct their base stations.
The National Communications Commission has approved the Procedure on Public Offerings of Mobile Operators. Mobile operators (including third-generation mobile operators) and 1900 megahertz digital low-tier cordless telephone operators are required to comply with certain measures in order to allow for the supervision of their financial management.
For the third consecutive year the three largest mobile network companies in Taiwan have been ordered to cut the rates charged on the most expensive second-generation (2G) mobile network calls, local calls to 2G mobile networks and calls made using prepaid cards. These cuts amount to an overall price decrease of almost 15%, and have been widely criticized by players in the industry.
Since the new National Communications Commission was formed in August 2008, the seven newly elected commissioners have attempted to complete the tasks left unfinished by the previous commissioners, while also setting out new policy goals. The commision has published its Middle-Term Policy Plan for 2009 to 2012, so as to distinguish it from the first-term policy plan established by the predecessors in 2006.
Taiwan Mobile has refused to pay Internet Protocol (IP) peering fees to Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan's largest internet service provider, arguing that IP peering between providers should be free. It has filed a claim with the National Communications Commission under Article 28 of the Regulations on Network Interconnection among Telecommunications Enterprises, requesting the commission's arbitration.
The National Communications Commission has proposed an amendment to the Regulations Governing the Telecommunications Universal Service which would facilitate the use of universal service funds and empower the regulator to choose the remote villages in need of broadband network infrastructure under the universal service regime.
The National Communications Commission has proposed amendments to the Regulations on Wireless Broadband Access Services. Among other things, the amendments define the terms 'multimedia services' and 'content of channel' and oblige worldwide interoperability for microwave access operators to obtain approvals or licences under broadcasting laws before offering content through multimedia services.
In order to allow the Mobile Taiwan National Project to utilize its experimental equipment and base stations, the National Communications Commission has approved amendments to the regulations governing wireless broadband access service. These pave the way for the use of experimental base stations for commercial purposes.
The National Communications Commission recently reviewed the Organization Act and proposed several changes in order to bring it into line with the demands of independent regulation. These changes include a relaxation of the qualification thresholds for entry into the commission and amendments to the scope of each commissioner's role.
The Appeal Committee of the National Communications Commission (NCC) recently revoked a ban on Chunghwa Telecom acquiring shares in a new worldwide interoperability for microwave access operator imposed by the previous NCC commissioners. This is the first case in which a resolution made by previous commissioners has been dismissed.
Taiwan's three dominant mobile operators have confirmed plans to incorporate Long-Term Evolution into their second-generation and third-generation systems. However, the government and network-equipment manufacturers still seem positive about the prospects for the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access industry. There is thus uncertainty as to which technology will ultimately prevail.
The National Communications Commission has rejected an application by First International Telecom, one of the six WiMAX licence holders and the only personal handy-phone system operator in Taiwan, to spin off its WiMAX business from its personal handy-phone system operation to its wholly owned subsidiary.
The Legislative Yuan recently approved the nominations for the next term commissioners of the National Communications Commission (NCC). Although some critical issues regarding the NCC Organization Act were resolved in 2007, several problematic issues concerning the organization and functions of the NCC remain to be dealt with. Therefore, the NCC has published proposed amendments to the act.
To facilitate the network deployment of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), the National Communications Commission is currently amending the Regulations on Wireless Broadband Access Services in order to allow WiMAX licensees to obtain the experimental base stations that are part of the Mobile Taiwan National Project.
Following the completion of its 2007 Broadband Access to Every Village project, the National Communications Commission (NCC) is aiming to extend the construction of the broadband network infrastructure to further remote areas in 2008. The NCC has appointed three companies to offer universal data services for broadband access to 50 mountain villages in 12 different counties.
Although the Internet Telephony Service (ITS) was opened up to operators in 2005, to date no licensed ITS providers have launched their services due to ongoing negotiations of network interconnection agreements with Chunghwa Telecom. In order to introduce competition into the market, the National Communications Commission has ruled that Chunghwa will have no pricing rights on the ITS until the end of 2010.
The National Communications Commission rejected Chunghwa Telecom’s proposal to acquire shares in a new worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) operator, Global Mobile Co, after Chunghwa failed in a bid for a WiMAX licence in 2007. The reaction of the press and the industry suggests that the NCC's scrutiny could discourage potential investors from nurturing this new industry.
Taiwan's mobile operators are required to reduce certain primary tariff plans by at least 4.88% each year under a three-year mandatory price-cutting plan. The National Communications Commission recently approved the cuts for mobile services and asymmetric digital subscriber line services for 2008. Ostensibly designed to benefit consumers directly, the policy's real intention seems to be to stimulate competition.
For some time government agencies and industry players have debated whether emerging mobile television services are subject to ex ante regulation. The National Communications Commission (NCC) has now carried out two consultations to solicit public opinion and the results should help the NCC to finalize its convergence policy for such emerging services.
In order to comply with the adjustment of the value of the Production Efficiency Index in the price cap formula, the National Communications Commission is to implement a new accounting rule providing for detailed separate accounting for the telecommunications industry. The rule will be applied retroactively to cover financial statements and other reporting materials from 2006 onwards.
After mutual concessions by the ruling and opposition parties, the Taiwanese Congress (the Legislative Yuan) passed the Amendment to Article 4 of the National Communications Commission (NCC) Organization Act on December 20 2007. The amendment, which became effective from January 9 2008, dramatically changes the formation of the NCC and the manner in which commissioners are nominated.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has announced its completion of the Broadband Access to Every Village project, which was designed to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural areas, following the NCC's amendment of the Regulations Governing the Telecommunications Universal Service in December 2006 to incorporate broadband internet access within the scope of the universal service.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has decided to shift the right to determine the price of local-to-mobile calls from the termination side (ie, mobile operators) to the originating side (ie, fixed network operators) from January 1 2011. However, the NCC has also ordered the local phone division of Chunghwa Telecom to reimburse mobile operators for the revenue loss caused by the shift.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has ruled on an amendment to the Regulations Governing Fixed-Network Telecommunications Business. By amending the regulations the NCC will reduce the thresholds - including the minimum paid-in capital, performance bond, minimum construction capacity and minimum requirement to launch business - not only for new entrants, but also for incumbents.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has announced several revisions to the original draft of the Law Governing Communications and Broadcasting, which was released in September 2007. The NCC has also initiated a second round of public comment, and expects that the revised draft will be submitted to the Executive Yuan for review by the end of December 2007.
The National Communications Commission has approved the codes of conduct, business terms and conditions, subscription contract and service tariff proposed by Chunghwa Telecom for the multimedia content transmission platform service, a multimedia-on-demand (MOD) service. This move formally confirms that MOD services have been shifted from cable television services to telecommunications services.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has approved a new tariff for twist-pair local loops proposed by Chunghwa Telecom. The tariff applies for leasing arrangements with other local network operators that do not have their own local loops. The NCC has emphasized that the new tariff differs from those previously agreed by commercial negotiation, which depended solely on market power.
The National Communications Commission has delivered a new draft legal framework for communications which it plans to submit for review in the Executive Yuan. The bill centres on transforming regulation to reflect the trend of digital convergence and addresses the areas of technological convergence, industry competition and social norms.
The National Communications Commission continues to focus on relaxing the criteria for entry to the telecommunications market. Its short-term plan is to establish a reasonable threshold for entry into the telecommunications market and for construction capacity. The minimum paid-in capital and performance bond will be carefully reviewed in response to the decline of equipment costs.
The first fixed-network telecommunications operator to obtain 070 telephone numbers has announced that the launch of a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service with a two-way dialling function has been delayed by problems with internet and telecommunications network interconnection. Billing problems are also likely to frustrate telecommunications operators and VoIP service providers.
The National Communications Commission has announced the six winning bidders for worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) regional licences. Surprisingly, two of the three largest mobile operators in Taiwan were unsuccessful. The Executive Yuan is contemplating releasing a further one or two nationwide licences with terms of 10 years from June 2009.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has decided that the right to determine the price of a local call to a mobile phone should be exercised by fixed network operators, not mobile operators. This policy will become effective from April 2010. The NCC believes it is time to change a practice intended to promote competition by creating a stream of revenue for newcomers to the mobile communications market.
The National Communications Commission has approved the issue of 60,000 E164 numbers with the prefix 070 to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) operator Sparq. Although Sparq is the first VoIP operator to obtain 070 telephone numbers, Chief Telecom recently obtained a VoIP licence and the right to acquire 070 numbers.
The National Communications Commission has announced that it plans to adopt measures to boost financial transparency. The new rule was drafted after the eruption of a financial scandal involving privately owned Asia-Pacific Broadband Telecom, a subsidiary of Rebar Asia Pacific Group.
After two rejections of the planned rate reduction for asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) proposed by Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan's largest ADSL service provider with over 3.5 million subscribers, the National Communications Commission has finally approved its new rate plan. Implementation of the new prices should have retroactive effect.
The National Communications Commission has reached a resolution to relax the entry barriers to the fixed-network business; as a result, the limitation of minimal paid-in capital will be reduced by up to 25%. It is anticipated that the new measure will be implemented by 2008 and will encourage new entrants to apply for the fixed-network business.
The National Communications Commission's decision to include certain mobile services within the Production Efficiency Index from April 1 2007 has provoked strong opposition from lawmakers, economists and telecommunications operators - including the chairmen of Taiwan's three largest mobile operators, who believe that the decision was made hurriedly and will have an adverse effect on the industry.
The Executive Yuan has announced plans to open up the broadband wireless access market. Six regional licences with a bandwidth of 30 megahertz, each covering half the island, will be issued by the end of June. Under the draft Regulation on Broadband Wireless Access, expected to be passed by the end of March, the licensing procedure will involve a beauty contest followed by an auction.
The National Communication Commission has issued a resolution that Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan's leading telecommunications operator, should reduce its five service charges at wholesale level. Pursuant to the latest Regulation on Telecommunications Tariffs, mobile operators can apply the new prices from January 11 2007.
The National Communications Commission has decided to adjust the value of the Production Efficiency Index in the price cap formula which is subject to the tariff regulation in order to achieve certain annual reductions. However, Type I operators are opposed to the decision and believe that the pricing issue should be determined by the market mechanism rather than by the regulator.
The National Communications Commission has approved a proposal to cancel the requirement that an applicant for international submarine cable lease-circuit business must offer a minimum of five gigabytes per second of full circuit. Before cancelling the restriction, the commission held a consultation to solicit public opinion from all quarters.
The National Communications Commission intends to overhaul the entire communications regime. In total, 16 individual laws and regulations will be amended by a consolidated bill which will soon progress through the legislative process. Among other things, the reforms aim to strengthen communication users' rights, modernize the universal service, promote resource sharing and stamp out fraudulent calls.
In August the National Communication Commission published a discussion paper entitled "Policy Planning of Broadband Wireless Access and Application" to solicit public comment. The commission plans to release broadband wireless access service licences on the 2.5-2.69 gigahertz frequency band during the second quarter of 2007.
The National Communications Commission recently announced a plan to select candidates for a handheld television trial, with four six-month trial licences to be issued. However, a number of potential participants are concerned that the plan fails to give a clear picture of the future of handheld television in Taiwan.
Taiwan's first third-generation (3G) mobile virtual network operator began operations in June 2006. It aims to win 150,000 subscribers by the end of 2006 and 500,000 by the end of 2007 by offering free monthly rental, significant discounts on communication charges and bargain prices for various models of 3G mobile phone.
The Council of Grand Justices has ruled that the political party-based nomination of commissioners to the newly established National Communications Commission (NCC) was unconstitutional because it denied the premier the power of personnel appointments. Despite the ruling, the council gave the commissioners a grace period, saying that the legislature must amend the NCC Organic Law by December 31 2008.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is inviting industry comments and public opinions on a proposed increase in the cap on foreign investment in Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan's largest telecommunications incumbent. The initial cap imposed was 20% but over the years this has been gradually increased to the current 40%. The ministry has now proposed a further increase to 60%.
After much deliberation and several public hearings, the National Communications Commission has ruled that Chunghwa Telecom's multimedia-on-demand internet television service, known as Big TV, must be closed down as it is considered a cable television service. However, the ruling has left Big TV with a back door into the media business.
The National Communications Commission has announced its 2006 policy plan, which outlines the commission's policy goals regarding several crucial issues in four categories: facilitating effective competition in the digital convergence era; strengthening regulatory policy; preserving the rights of citizens and consumers; and encouraging cultural diversity and respect for minorities.
The National Communications Commission has begun to operate officially as Taiwan's telecommunications, broadcasting and information authority, a remit which previously fell under the auspices of the Directorate General of Telecommunications and the Government Information Office. However, the line between the new regulator and other administrative branches is not entirely clear, and this may result in conflict.
The National Communications Commission has failed once again to decide whether Chunghwa Telecom's 'Big TV' internet television service is to be considered a media service or purely a telecommunications service. If the former conclusion is reached, some regulatory issues will become more complicated with regards to whether certain foreign investment restrictions should apply.
Proposed amendments to the outdated Telecommunications Act call for a dramatic overhaul of the existing regulatory framework. In a display of forward-looking thinking, the Directorate General of Telecommunications is consulting on the new draft act. The abolishment of the current categories of telecommunications business and franchise licensing are the most significant modifications proposed.
The new National Communications Commission is to act as an independent regulator for the converged broadcasting and telecommunications industries. Twelve of its 13 commissioners have now been elected, but the outgoing premier has asked the Council of Grand Justices to rule on its constitutionality. The commission's actions may well be hampered by an over-emphasis on political issues.
The National Information and Communication Initiative has officially announced the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access Development Roadmap. Among other things, the roadmap covers the establishment of standards, strategies for the development of technology, spectrum planning and timetables for field testing.
In order to supervise telecommunications operators' compliance with the anti-fraud scheme launched by the police administration, the Directorate General of Telecommunications has announced two new policies on blocking unlawful communications and controlling the radio wave coverage of mobile base stations in Kimmen.
Following discussions regarding the introduction of regulations on Voice over Internet Protocol services, the Directorate General of Telecommunications has decided to grant E.164 telephone numbers to qualified operators and to issue related regulations.
The Government Information Office and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications are implementing an ambitious broadcasting policy which aims to restructure the chaotic airwave environment, promote the sustainable development of the radio broadcast industry and provide for a smooth transition from analogue to digital technology.
The Directorate General of Telecommunications (DGT) has decided to explore the possibility of collecting number usage fees from fixed-network and mobile operators, in order to encourage the effective utilization of this finite resource, reduce the abuse of telecommunications numbers and address potential security concerns. The DGT recently closed a public consultation on the issue.
The deadline for mobile telecommunications operators (including third-generation operators) to implement number portability has been postponed to October 15 2005, as the development of the framework for the new system is taking longer than initially anticipated. Meetings are being conducted to coordinate efforts, but it is unclear when the system will be ready.
The Directorate General of Telecommunications recently issued a second request for comments on the allocation of telecommunications numbers and other key issues relating to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), to assist it in adjusting Taiwan's administrative regulations to promote the development of VoIP, encourage innovative technologies and services, and protect consumer interests.