According to Article 24(3) of the “Cable Radio and Television Act”, the system operators shall report the number of subscribers for the previous three months to National Communications Commission (NCC) in January, April, July, and October of each year, and NCC will publish the statistics after compiling the reports. In addition, according to Article 36, the number of household can be used as the calculation basis for discussing the authorization terms between the system operator and channel provider. Therefore, the accuracy of the household statistics is an important basis for the central regulatory agency, NCC, to promote the supervision work in order to improve the trading order of the cable radio and television service market and protect the viewing rights of consumers.
Accordingly, this study will not only investigate the current market development of the cable radio and television service industry in Taiwan, but also anaglyze the operational problems and debated issues of the existing subscriber counting mechanism. Furthermore, observe and analyze other countries’ verification, utilization and review mechanisms of number of subscribers, and collect information on practical operation methods, processes, and also combine the opinions from industry, academia, and research to explore the governance and legal policies under the development of digital technologies and applications. To ensure a comprehensive consideration of the industry development, rights and remedies, and enforcement effectiveness, and further propose specific legal and policy recommendations for the regulatory agency to converge with the international regulatory trends.
This study proposes a two-stage system planning about the subscriber investigation and verification mechanism of the cable radio and television service for the regulatory agency. First of all, a market survey will be conducted to obtain information on the number of subscribers of each operator in Taiwan, and the aforementioned information will be compared with the operators’ reports to initially screen the list of potential untrue report. Secondly, based on the amount of administrative energy, the regulatory agency is able to select a list of operators for on-site administrative inspection and requests the operators to provide information such as pre-revenue sharing statements, inventory of set-top box properties, channel licenses and on / off shelf contracts, etc. for the competent authority to supervise the number of household and to make appropriate administrative dispositions.
In view of the cross-national legal and policy analysis, this study concludes that the competent authority is able to complete by short- and long-term administrative means without amending the Cable Radio and Television Act. The short-term solutions include defining the meaning of "the number of subscribers" under the Cable Radio and Television Act, formulating the "Enforcement Directions of the system operators’ number of subscribers," establishing a new type of auditor’s report, and specifying the volume of imposing a fine for the untrue number of subscribers report cases. The medium- and long-term solutions include strengthening the penal provisions on system operators of failure to report or reporting untrue subscribers number, and planning guidance and incentive measures for operators.