The National Communications Commission (NCC) had previously planned to resolve existing disputes regarding network interconnections between major telecommunications operators by amending the existing Regulations Governing Network Interconnections between Telecommunications Enterprises by the end of 2012 (for further details please see “NCC decided on free internet interconnections”). However, this objective could not be achieved as scheduled, due to the stalemate between Chunghwa Telecom and its major competitors, such as FarEasTone and Taiwan Mobile. The NCC recently announced that a hearing is due to be conducted on April 25 2013. As well as major telecommunications operators, three independent experts will be invited to offer their opinions in the hearing.
The NCC has listed the following hearing topics:
• whether internet interconnections should be regulated by additional provisions in amendments to the Telecommunications Act rather than by administrative decrees from the NCC only;
• whether asymmetric regulation should be adopted over Chunghwa Telecom in the internet market;
• the terms and qualifications for free internet interconnections, should asymmetric regulation be adopted;
• the regulation of public internet interconnection obligations between free dedicated internet interconnecting parties; and l whether the internet interconnection bandwidth fees under the wholesale prices set forth in the existing Regulations Governing Tariffs of Type One Telecommunications Enterprises (including the fees for the creation, change or termination of interconnections) should be incorporated into the Regulations Governing the Network Interconnections of Telecommunications Enterprises.
In spite of existing commercial arrangements for network interconnections between Chunghwa Telecom and its competitors, thanks to the NCC’s intervention in negotiations, the efficacy for the consensus among them is still very low. The NCC’s indication that the focus of this hearing is on whether asymmetric regulation of Chunghwa Telecom should be conducted by way of enacting amendments to the current Telecommunications Act has attracted extensive attention in the industry.
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