Government Plans for Digital-Convergence Network in Taiwan by 2015

A “development program for digital convergence” that the Executive Yuan (Cabinet) approved on July 8 calls for Taiwan to have an extensive broadband network in place by 2015, serving as an integrated conduit for TV, telecommunications, and Internet services.

The program envisions that the broadband network will cover 80% of all households in Taiwan, providing a connection speed of over 100 Mbps. Six million of the connections are to be via fiber optic cable and 2 million via wireless broadband. If the program`s goals are met, Taiwan will have a 50% penetration for digital cable-TV and 50% for emerging visual services.

Among other measures included in the program, low-income households will be given subsidies for the installation of set-top boxes. The objective of the ambitious plan is to build Taiwan into an Asian center for emerging visual services.

A digital-convergence task force will come into being under the Executive Yuan to oversee the implementation of the program. It will be headed by Chang Chin-fu, minister without portfolio.

The government hopes that the new program will help Taiwan catch up with the U.S., the European Union, Japan, and Korea, which have been fostering the development of digital convergence in recent years by providing favorable legal environments.

Taiwan will follow suit by setting up a legal groundwork for the development of the digital-convergence industry, first lifting restrictions on cross-border operations by telecommunications, broadcasting, and Internet services and then instituting a digital-convergence architecture by 2014.

During the first stage of the program, from 2010 through 2012, a number of bills will be formulated and sent to the legislature for passage, including a radio and TV broadcast law, cable-TV broadcast law, and satellite TV broadcast law, as well as a revision of the Telecommunications Law. During the second stage, from 2013 through 2014, the legal framework for integration or separation within the digital-convergence framework will be completed.

Minister without Portfolio Chang Chin-fu remarks that under the trend of digital convergence, the telecommunications, broadcasting, and Internet industries will integrate, expand, and engage in cross-industry competition under an integrated online environment.

The digital-convergence industry will consist mainly of content application (audio-visual content, value-added telecommunications services, and other application services), transmission platforms (for the transmission of voice, digital, and visual content), and online transmission (wireless, cable, and satellite).

(by Judy Li)



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