New Communications Convergence Act planned for 2014

On July 16 2013 the Executive Yuan officially concluded that the National Communications Commission (NCC) should reconsider its draft proposal to the amendment of the Telecommunications Act. This is the second time in the past six months that the NCC has failed to convince the Executive Yuan of its communications policies. The NCC clearly intends to separate Chunghwa Telecom, the dominant player in the fixed network market, as well as to adopt strong measures against suspicious illegal content distributed online, which copies the concept of the US Stop Online Piracy Act (for further details please see “Common carrier defence to be further examined” and “NCC requires functional separation in Chunghwa Telecom”)

The Executive Yuan did not explain specifically why or to what extent the legislative proposal to the Telecommunications Act was unacceptable, but it stated that the NCC is expected to present a new communications convergence regulation replacing all
existing broadcasting laws, as well as the Telecommunications Act, by the end of March 2014.

The NCC has not disclosed its detailed plan for preparing a new bill governing communications convergence. Although in 2008 it made a prior similar attempt to create a single law which would subject existing licensed players in vertical fields (eg,
conventional broadcasters, telecommunications carriers, satellite broadcasting systems, cable television operators, internet service providers and programme suppliers) to regulation on three horizontal levels – the physical network, the service platforms and the applications respectively.

The NCC has stated that in any event, it will try to meet the March 2014 deadline.

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