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The Ministry of Digital Affairs Collaborates with Public and Private Sectors to Enhance Marine Communication In Penghu, with Mobile Broadband Coverage Extending to over 90% of the Routes

The moda states that, to continuously strengthen Taiwan's communication resilience and accessibility and improve marine communication networks in Penghu, the moda has cooperated with central and local governments and telecommunications companies to construct additional base stations at high grounds along the route and has adjusted and optimized the angles of transmission for multiple existing base stations along the route. As a result, the coverage of mobile broadband signals during the journey along the route has increased from the original 22% to 91%. Wi-Fi and mobile networks are now available for crew members and passengers, significantly improving mobile broadband signal coverage along the route by 90%.

Along with a team from the moda, Minister Tang inspected the improvements in mobile broadband signal coverage on the Penghu Ferry. The team included members of Telecommunications Universal Service Fund Administrative Committee, members of the Forward-looking Planning Committee, representatives from the three major telecommunications companies, as well as Mr. Jong-Lin Chyou, President of Taiwan Navigation Co., Ltd., Director-General of the Maritime Port Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications Hsieh-lung Yeh, Deputy County Executive of the Penghu County Jie-hsing Lin, Deputy Secretary-General of the Tainan City Government Shih-his Yin, and Director of the Kaohsiung City Information Center Chun-chieh Liou. They all boarded the Penghu Ferry together to witness and experience the improvements in signal coverage along the Penghu Ferry route, demonstrating the determination of public-private cooperation to improve mobile broadband infrastructure in remote areas.

 The moda pointed out that the Penghu Ferry serves as the transportation link between Kaohsiung and Penghu, covering a route of 128 kilometers. Previously, once the ferry departed from the shore, it would leave the coverage area of the base stations, leaving the ship to rely solely on geosynchronous  satellites for communication. However, passengers could not smoothly access the internet or make calls during the journey due to limited bandwidth. The available conversation time and internet usage were limited to less than 1 hour, with download speeds below 1 Mbps.  The moda utilized the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program initiated by the Executive Yuan to subsidize telecommunications companies in setting up three base stations in Penghu County, Tainan City, and Kaohsiung City, as well as installing onboard telecommunication equipment on the Penghu Ferry. Additionally, the ministry encouraged telecommunications companies to independently establish two base stations and improve 81 coastal base stations.

After completing the aforementioned vital measures, the mobile broadband download speed on the Penghu Ferry route can now reach 10-50 Mbps. In emergencies, the broadband can transmit images and other information, allowing for early awareness of on-site conditions and facilitating the dispatch of rescue resources. During regular operations, crew members and passengers on the Penghu Ferry can use Wi-Fi and mobile broadband networks to call, browse, and send images or messages. In areas with good signal reception, it is possible to stream video smoothly and enhance communication accessibility. However, due to the distance between coastal base stations and the Penghu Ferry, which can be up to approximately 20 kilometers, network speed may still be affected by the number of users, weather conditions, and the location of the Penghu Ferry.

Minister Tang stated that to enable the Penghu ferry to access mobile broadband internet, the moda has been working with the Maritime Port Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Penghu County, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, and Taiwan Navigation Company since October of last year(2023). With the joint efforts of the three major telecommunications companies, they have constructed and improved multiple base stations along the coast route, successfully upgrading the narrowband service that previously relied solely on geosynchronous  satellite transmission for text messages to broadband service.

Minister Tang stated that broadband internet access is a fundamental human right. Since its establishment, moda has been fully committed to enhancing digital resilience and improving the accessibility of communication services, which includes encouraging telecommunications companies to import mobile broadband networks in rural, mountainous, and transportation hub areas by adjusting frequency usage fee standards. For example, telecommunication companies have implemented initiatives in places such as the Kuaigu Lodge in north Kavulungan, the Taiwan Railway Eastern Line, and Mr. Brown Avenue in Taitung. Furthermore, through support from forward-looking planning, Telecommunication companies are encouraged to accelerate network coverage enhancement in rural and outlying island areas. The Penghu Ferry, which everyone boarded today, is one example of these efforts. In the future, the moda will continue collaborating with various sectors to promote the widespread adoption of mobile communications, ensuring that broadband internet services are accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Following that, Minister Tang and the visiting delegation participated in a 5G vertical domain application service event in Penghu County. They experienced the application outcomes of 5G technology in AI inspection, telemedicine, innovative entertainment, and WEB AR. On the 16th, they will proceed to Chidong Elementary School in Penghu County to hold a "Digital Application for Telecom Accessibility" event. During this event, they will showcase various digital applications, including the promotion of 5G vertical networks, digital infrastructure in remote areas, and digital education, conducted by the Administration for Digital Industries, moda, and subsidized telecommunications companies, to the citizens of Penghu County, as well as the students and teachers.

The moda further elaborated that it continues to promote the construction of 5G networks in Taiwan. Following the "Subsidy Program for 5G Network Construction" approved by the Executive Yuan, the moda collaborates with telecommunications companies to strengthen 5G network infrastructure in major transportation hubs, large-scale event venues, and baseball stadiums. Until last year, the moda has subsidized telecommunications companies to install a total of 13,200 5G mobile broadband base stations and has funded to promote the development of 91 locations for 5G vertical domain application services. This acceleration of industry development and digital transformation facilitates diversified applications of 5G across various sectors. Additionally, the Administration for Digital Industries of the moda has established the "Mobile Broadband Network Promotion Office," which opens up 5G frequency and network resources to foster industry innovation applications, comprehensively enhancing industry resilience.

The moda will continue encouraging telecommunications companies to promote various digital applications such as 5G vertical domains, digital trust, data innovation, and energy-saving sustainability through digital transmission resource fee mechanisms, universal service funds for telecommunications services, and forward-looking construction projects. They will also promote cross-sector collaboration to facilitate effective frequency utilization. Additionally, infrastructure for telecommunications will be built in remote areas such as Penghu County and outlying islands to accelerate local industry digital transformation, improve quality of life, and enhance digital resilience.

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