Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Taiwan Targets FTTx

An interview with Mr. H.T.
Ko, Executive Secretary of Committee of Communication
Industry Development (CoCID), Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan

 Question 1

Please describe the basic telecom regulatory structure in Taiwan.

"In Taiwan, the government requires operators to apply for licenses. Taiwan has a national regulator called the NCC -- similar to the FCC in the US -- to ensure that they abide by the laws of Taiwan"

Question 2

What is the government's policies, regulations and plans for domestic vendors and network operators?

"The government of Taiwan helps promote the fiber optic industry in two ways. First, the government invested about NT$30 billion in the construction of broadband duct infrastructure. Secondly, the government has implemented an FBB (Fiber Broadband Building) Program to increase and upgrade the whole industrial production values and business growth. Fiber operators and service providers bring the fibers to the home or to the building under the FBB program. There are two different FBB logos. One is the golden logo representing FTTH, which means the fiber-optic path extends from the operator' switching equipment to the home. The other is the silver logo representing FTTB, which means the Service Provider installs fiber all the way to the building. This is a similar system as used in South Korea. Additionally, FBB helps increase the home value by 3%-8%."

 Question 3

Has Taiwan selected a next-generation network architecture, such as EPON, GPON, or active Ethernet, that operators are required to follow?

"Taiwan is a major OEM and ODM country. We manufacture products based on the standards set by the regions. EPON is the standard followed by most Asian countries; whereas, GPON is for Europe and America. Since Taiwan is located in Asia, we tend to apply the EPON standard in our own fiber architecture. Taiwan is also an open architecture. We are a test bed for various application services; therefore, we are able to provide total solutions for the industry worldwide."

 Question 4

How is the government supporting FTTH? Who owns the fiber?

"The Government of Taiwan is planning to cooperate with broadband operators and with construction firms to help expedite the rollout of domestic fiber infrastructure by investing in fiber ducts along main roads. Broadband operators will extend the fiber from the main road into homes and buildings. They are the owners of the fiber sections they install. There are currently 4 major fixed operators in Taiwan; namely, Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Fixed Network, Asia Pacific Broadband Communications and FET Net Sparq. There are also cable operators (about 6%) competing in the market."

 Question 5

Please describe the current broadband market condition in Taiwan. Where will future growth occur? 

"The strength of the household penetration rate shows the degree of competitiveness in the Taiwanese market. There are about 1 million fiber subscribers in Taiwan. According to the data from Fiber-to-the-Home Council, Taiwan is ranked 4th in the world for 2008, up from 5th and 7th places in previous years."

Question 6

How do you expect the market to grow in coming years?

"We hope to expand the market by promoting FBB programs. We expect to have 2 million FTTx subscribers and generate 30 billion business opportunities by 2012. The market channels and shares can be expanded by joining the resources with different domestic industries. We will also build strong partnerships with manufacturers overseas by following international standards and keeping up with our industrial technological competence. We hope to increase our market influence and consumer awareness by way of conference opportunities. We plan to recognize industries through our FBB logo certification programs to encourage further growth."

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