The Taiwan Telecommunications Act has been amended by a presidential order promulgated on May 21 2003.

The principal change effected by the amendment is a requirement that all buildings constructed after promulgation of the amendment contain a dedicated telecommunications room, and other indoor and outdoor telecommunications equipment necessary to permit fixed network operators to connect their network to the building and provide broadband and other telecommunications services to users in the building. As regards existing buildings, such facilities must be installed by the building owner if requested by the occupants. The competent authority may, by announcement, exempt certain classes of buildings from this requirement. The measure was enacted in order to support implementation of the central government's policy of increasing the consumer broadband penetration rate across the island.

The amendment stipulates that the building owner will be responsible for ensuring that telecommunications equipment is installed and maintained in the building so that users in the building can obtain telecommunications services from local fixed network operators, and the fixed network operators can in turn connect their network to the building without any charge payable to the building owner. However, the building owner is responsible only for maintaining the equipment on its own side of the point of interconnection, and has no responsibility for equipment maintained on the fixed network operator's side.

Under the amendment, no fixed network operator or other person may prevent users in a building from choosing another operator to provide telecommunications services, nor prevent another telecommunications operator from competing for business opportunities in a building. Any commercial agreement in contravention of this is void (although the equipment installed pursuant to such an agreement will not be removed or its use prohibited by the fixed network operator without the consent of the building owner). This means, among other things, that for each building the owner must ensure that each of the fixed network operators can connect its respective network to the building, and no fixed network operator may require an exclusive contract for the provision of telecommunications services to users in the building or otherwise impede competition as regards provision of such services.

Anyone who fails to comply with these requirements is subject to a recurring fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$300,000 until the violation is remedied.

In addition, minor changes were made to the act in relation to matters such as:

  • the inspection of telecommunications terminal equipment;

  • the relocation of telecommunications lines;

  • the administration of radio broadcasters; and

  • the regulation of radiation emissions from telecommunications equipment.

For further information on this topic please contact Arthur Shay or William Edwards at Shay & Partners by telephone (+886 2 8773 3600) or by fax (+886 2 8773 3611) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).