Predicament and Revolution of Communication Regulations in the Era of Digital Convergence: Focusing on the Triple-Play Service
|關鍵字:||數位匯流;跨業經營;多合一服務;網路電視;多媒體內容傳輸平臺服務;中華電信MOD 服務;有線電視數位化;開放接取;網際網路互連;通訊傳播管理法草案;水平管制;技術中立;Digital Convergence;Cross Ownership;Triple-Play Service;Internet Protocol Television (IPTV);Multimedia Content Transporting Platform Service;CHT MOD Service;Digitalization of Cable Television;Open Access;Internet Peering;Draft Communication and Broadcasting Administration Law;Horizontal Regulation;Principle of Technology Neutrality|
針對有線電視發展多合一服務之管制議題，本研究認為目前尚無就有線電視系統線路課予開放接續義務之必要；現況下由於網路互連費用居高不下，本研究建議短期應要求中華電信予以降價，遠程目標則為引進「流量付費機制」，以使Cable Modem等ISP業者有足夠利潤與中華電信HiNet服務競爭，並且帶動內容產業之共榮。自有線電視業者利用相同線路提供Cable Phone與VoIP網路電話間之義務差距則可得知現況下我國電信規範第一、第二類電信事業之區分有其缺失而應予改正。最後，為了矯正現況下由電信業主導、不平衡的多合一服務發展態勢，本研究認為應取消收視費用上限、採取頻道分組付費以及解除分區管制以鼓勵有線電視業者提供多元化之服務。
The phenomenon of digital convergence caused by technology innovation leads the operation model of telecommunication sector and the broadcasting sector toward the trend of cross-ownership. Therefore the Triple-Play Service, which includes voice, data and video services has become the latest craze in the market. The Triple-Play Service not only reshapes the landscape of the communications industry, it also creates great challenges to the current regulatory framework. This thesis intends to explore Taiwan’s current regulatory regime in terms of the Triple-Play Service from the perspective of telecommunication and broadcasting sectors, and analyze the legal controversy arising therefrom so as to propose appropriate solutions to the problems. This thesis begins by discussing the impact of digital convergence on telecommunication and broadcasting businesses and the emergence of the Triple-Play Service; in the second part of the thesis the dichotomic supervision framework for the telecommunication and broadcasting sectors and the content of regulation are introduced and compared. The third part of the thesis examines issues including the difficulties in regulating the Triple-Play Service and the obstacles jeopardizing its development from the viewpoints of the telecommunication and broadcasting sectors respectively. The fourth part of the thesis covers the draft Communication and Broadcasting Administration Law, which proposes a fundamental change in regulatory framework to horizontal supervision. Crucial provisions are specified in this part in order to assess whether they are sufficient to address the problems aforementioned. The final part of the thesis provides some suggestions with respect to possible revisions of the current regulations, some core values are also highlighted to serve as guidance for the future regulatory regime. This thesis observes that by regulating the CHT MOD service with Regulations Governing Fixed Network Telecommunications Businesses, the MOD platform operator faces obscure obligations and regulatory disparity. Due to the fact that the essence of IPTV is more similar to broadcasting service, this thesis contends that IPTV service should be regulated under the Cable Broadcasting Law. In order to promote prevalence of the IPTV service and fair competition among all types of video service providers, this thesis argues that all service providers should be able to choose to become either an open platform or a non-open platform in the long run based on their own competitive edge. This thesis is also with the view that the ban on ownership of media should be lifted in order to bestow CHT with the opportunity to choose whether to open its broadcasting platform. In addition, this thesis proposes to enact the “program access” provision for the purpose of preventin boycott against new broadcasting platform, so that those video service providers will be able to obtain comparable content in order to compete with existing platform operators. As for the regulation issues with respect to the Triple-Play Service provided by cable system operators, first, this thesis considers it unnecessary to impose the open access obligation on the cable system operators at this stage. In order to ensure that ISPs including Cable Modem service providers can generate sufficient revenue in the Internet access service market to compete with CHT HiNet service and also for the prosperity of content service, this thesis suggests reduction of CHT’s peering fee, which is complained for being exceedingly high. The long term goal would be introducing the fee calculation mechanism based on the “nett volume traffic.” If a cable system operator intends to provide voice service, using its cable to operate fixed-network service or using the same cable in providing VoIP service will lead to different regulatory requirements. The thesis is of the opinion that such gap of regulatory burdens demonstrates the unreasonableness of the current Type I and Type II telecommunication classification, therefore justifies the necessity of reclassification. Finally, in order to promote a more balanced development of the Triple-Play service, this thesis urges cancellation of the cable subscription fee cap, adoption of channel tiering and abolishment of zoning restriction. With regard to the horizontal regulatory structure proposed by the draft Communication and Broadcasting Administration Law, this thesis claims that under the situation which the definition of each service remains unclear and the division of layers is also in dispute, such regulatory regime is so immature that should not be adopted at the current stage. This thesis considers that the principle of technology neutrality can be achieved by modifying the existing regulations. If such principle together with the concept of deregulation can be born in mind as the core values for future regulation, all variety of services and technologies can then freely compete and flourish without unjust intervention, the dream of “digital convergence” will soon be realized in the near future.
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