The Annual International Institute of Communications (IIC) Conference was held in London, UK, between October 7th and 10th 2019. Commissioners Chen-Ling Hung and Wen-Chung Guo led the NCC delegation, joining the Charmain of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Chairman of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and senior executives from the UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) in in-depth exchange regarding important 5G deployment concerns, such as licensing, digital platform management, and countering disinformation. Representatives from around the world shared their 5G deployment strategies, adding to the competitiveness of the global 5G industry.
On October 7th, the first day of the conference, the Taiwanese delegation and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai took to the stage to discuss “reconstructing the governance framework for a global digital ecosystem” in the International Regulators’ Forum. Pai emphasized the importance of the 5G FAST Plan, which includes policies to release further frequency bands (including the popular 3.5 GHz mid-band, expected to begin accepting bids next year) and reduce complications for small cell deployment. ACMA Chairperson Nerida O’Loughlin noted that Australia had completed the first round of 5G license issuance in 2018 and are actively evaluating frequency bands to be released next. NCC Commissioner Wen-Chung Guo stated in his briefing that Taiwan is expected to complete the 5G license issuance process by the end of 2019. According to Guo, various incentives would be provided to spur industry development, from extending license duration to 20 years to offering discounts on frequency usage fees, a sign that 5G development and planning in Taiwan is keeping pace with major countries.
The NCC added that discussions during the session also touched on whether regulators should adopt a new governance approach in the wake of technological convergence. Commissioner Chen-Ling Hung cited the regulation of digital platforms as an example, reminding regulators around the world that an appropriate balance must be found in order to ensure the protection of public interests, freedom of speech, and industry innovation. Many regulators in attendance conceded that there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution between strategies of legal intervention by legislation and industry autonomy by self-regulation. Cross-national digital platform operators must acknowledge the fact that socioeconomic environments, as well as policies and legal requirements, vary from one country to another.
According to the NCC, Commissioner Chen-Ling Hung was also invited by the IIC to speak at the annual conference’s October 10th session, titled “Stopping Disinformation and Fake News to Ensure the Independence of News Media,” where Hung highlighted the interdepartmental efforts of the Taiwanese government and the cooperation between public and private sectors in preventing disinformation. By publishing TV news observation reports, establishing fact checking and media impartiality guidelines, punishing those that fall foul of fact checking in accordance with the law, in addition to various other countermeasures, the NCC is progressing to establishing a disinformation safety net that both protects freedom of speech and safeguard Taiwan’s democracy and nomocracy.
As the IIC celebrates its 50th anniversary, it continues to have a strong influence over trends in global communications regulations. The NCC is an active participant in the ICC’s international regulators’ forums, annual conferences, and regional regulators’ forums. These platforms provide an opportunity for government officials and industry representatives from around the world to exchange their views on communications-related issues. They also offer Taiwan a stage to showcase its soft power.
Photo of NCC Commissioners Chen-Ling Hung (2nd from the left) and Wen-Chung Guo (2nd from the right), FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (middle), conference organizer IIC’s Chairman Chris Chapman (far left) and Secretary-General Andrea Millwood Hargrave (far right), taken at the regulators’ forum.
NCC Commissioner Wen-Chung Guo (2nd from the left) was a speaker and panelist at the session titled “Reconstructing the Governance Framework for a Global Digital Ecosystem.”