To fulfill the communication service needs of the people living in the Datong and Dali tribes (Tongli tribes) in Xiulin Township, Hualien County and visitors to the area, on December 15, 2022, the National Communications Commission (NCC) held the launching ceremony to celebrate the Tongli tribes’ newly co-constructed mobile base station. Participants included NCC commissioners Wei-Jing Wang, Zheng-Jia Wang, and Yi-Hui Wang, Deputy Executive Director Ying-Yi Guo of the Eastern Taiwan Joint Services Center, Executive Yuan, Legislator Li-Hua Wu, director of Wen-Ji Kong's Office Xiu-Hua Wu, Director of Su-Mei Kao Chin's Office Jun-Xian Lee, Director of Kun-Chi Fu's Office Jiang-Sheng Bai, director Wei-Zhe Liu of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, Senior Specialist Jia-Peng Wang of the Ministry of Digital Affairs, Director of the Taroko National Park Headquarters Jin-Zhen Yang, Director Zhong-Cheng Lin Pan of the Hualien County Government, Director Wen-Rui Lin of the Hualien County Fire Department, Mei-Gui Wang of Xiulin Township, and representatives of the three major telecom operators Chunghwa Telecom, Far EasTone, and Taiwan Mobile Co., Ltd. The Tongli tribe and surrounding areas have suffered from long-term lack of electric power and communications services, causing significant challenges for the people there, especially when seeking help and rescue in the event of a disaster. Thus, the launch of the Tongli tribes’ mobile base station has marked a significant milestone in improving the quality of life and safety of the indigenous people in the area.
During the ceremony, NCC emphasized that they had in fact started to plan the Tongli tribe’s co-constructed base station in 2017 by conducting field surveys and coordinating with the Taroko National Park Headquarters, Hualien County Government, Xiulin Township Office, Taiwan Power Company, and various telecom companies. Minister without Portfolio of the Executive Yuan Wan-Yi Lin, and several legislators, such as Li-Hua Wu, assisted and coordinated with the project. After several meetings and on-site surveys, the pre-work, such as selecting the site of the base station, land lease, environmental impact assessment, geological exploration, and water and soil conservation had finally been completed. The location and surrounding areas present significant logistical challenges. The Tongli tribe has neither external traffic roads nor a supply of electric power, so they can only use renewable energy for power supply. Another challenge was the equipment and machinery for the base station weighed about 129 tons. The solar panels, batteries, wind turbines, and other equipment could only be transported up the mountain using flow cages and human relays. Finally, they overcame the terrain and environment, and other dangerous factors. The cost of the construction reached approximately NTD34 million, 49% of which was subsidized by NCC through the Executive Yuan's "Special Act for Forward-looking Infrastructure" budget, ensuring that the public-private cooperation of government agencies and telecom operators could complete this arduous task. Notably, this is the only base station in the country that relies on both wind power and solar power to generate electricity. As such it can serve as a demonstration site for other potential sites like in outlying islands or areas where electricity cannot reach. NCC would like to express its special thanks to the efforts of the three major telecom operators in fulfilling their social responsibilities and the assistance of relevant agencies.
NCC indicated that throughout 2021 and 2022, they utilized the "Special Act for Forward-looking Infrastructure" budget to subsidize telecom operators to complete the construction of 302 mobile broadband base stations in rural or remote areas. This includes 297 5G base stations, co-constructed base stations of Tongli Tribe in Hualien County, 4G and 5G base stations in Liang Island , Lianjiang County, 4G and 5G base stations in Gaodeng Island, Lianjiang County, base station enhancement project in Guishan Island, Yilan County, and 4G and 5G base stations in Pengjia Islet of Keelung City, boosting broadband construction in rural and remote areas and reducing the digital divide. Through the NCC's subsidy and the investment of telecom operators, all 87 rural areas in the country already have 5G base stations and coverage rate of 5G signals in remote areas has reached 60% to 70% of the population. NCC noted that matters related to subsidy under the Executive Yuan's "Special Act for Forward-looking Infrastructure" and "Telecommunication Universal Service Regulations" have recently been moved to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Based on the integration of administration, the National Communications Commission will cooperate with the Ministry of Digital Affairs to urge telecom operators to continue strengthening mobile broadband infrastructure and increase the population coverage of 5G signals.
(From the third left to right) Director of the Taroko National Park Jin-Zhen Yang, Legislator Li-Hua Wu, NCC commissioners Yi-Hui Wang, Zheng-Jia Wang, and Wei-Jing Wang, Deputy Executive Director of the Eastern Taiwan Joint Services Center Ying-Yi Guo, Executive Deputy General Manager of Far Eas Tone Jun-Jie Guo, Senior Director of Taiwan Mobile Co., Ltd. Bai-Kai Lee, General Manager of the operation office of Chunghwa Telecom North Branch Guo-Ji Huang, Mayor of Xiulin Township Mei-Gui Wang, and Chairman of Bsngan Wen-Sheng Chang.
Government and telecom operators have jointly built the first wind and solar hybrid power supply cell site, serving the Datong and Dali tribes.