On June 29-30, NCC Chairperson Howard Shyr led a delegation of members of the Telecommunications Universal Service Fund and the Administrative Commission of the Cable Radio and Television Development Fund to the Digital Opportunity Center in Penghu to inspect quality of local telecommunications services in uneconomic regions, data communications, and inspect the digitization of cable TV. NCC also invited Penghu county government, Chunghwa Telecom and Penghu CATV to attend a forum to so as to hear public opinions on improving communications and CATV universal service.
With the objective of improving communications services for those in remote areas so that they can adapt to the development of digital convergence, NCC for the first time conducted a survey of universal services combining both telecommunications and CATV, allowing participants to share opinions and experiences so as to ascertain the best solutions for certain issues, such as reception problems and so on.
Due to the many off-islands of Penghu, which are sometimes inaccessible and suffer monsoon damage, it is especially challenging to construct and maintain a telecommunications and CATV network. However, it is worth noting that Chunghwa Telecom, as well as other operators, and Penghu CATV Company still fully support the government policy of universal services, in order to provide the best service possible for local residents, not only satisfying the requirements and needs of local residents, but also promoting socioeconomic development. NCC chairperson Shyr expressed his appreciation to Chunghwa Telecom and Penghu CATV Company for their investment in infrastructure and close coordination with the Penghu County government.
With regards to the achievement of broadband, in most off-islands in 2008, there was no fiber network, but due to assertive deployment of Chunghwa Telecom, 54 elementary and junior high schools in Penghu have reached the targets of 100Mbps with the exception of ten schools. Penghu has many offshore-islands and despite unique challenges of obtaining land for construction and broadband, penetration rate as of the end of 2014 was still 93%. As for CATV, using the Cable Radio and Television Development Fund to subsidize Wanan and Chimei to install cables in 2009, and for popularizing the digital television and promote its development Penghu Cable Company has been upgrading head end to digital head end, resulting in digital penetration of more than 80% in the first quarter of 2015.
NCC expressed that the after the implementation of telecommunications universal service, the net losses incurred by universal service providers in the provision of universal service are absorbed by the fund after approval of NCC. The participating universal service carriers share the amount of the universal service costs according to the proportion of revenue. In addition to the assertive efforts of Chunghwa Telecom, NCC would also like to express its gratitude for the contributions of all universal service carriers, including mobile communications operators, fixed network operators, as well as some IP phone operators and simple voice resale operators. Through the facilitation of universal services, NCC is able to improve basic communications services in remote areas, enhance education in primary and secondary schools by means of the Internet and multimedia facilities, reduce the digital divide, create digital opportunities, and introduce health care service and other cloud services – all of which leads towards the goal of establishing a smart city. NCC is also committed to continual use of the Cable Radio and Television Development Fund so as to improve cable television reception in remote areas.