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  Taiwan Telecommunications and Media Regulatory Update August 2018
Print | Date: 2018-08-06  
Taiwan’s telecommunication and broadcasting matter regulator, the National Communication Commission (NCC), has proposed new guidelines (“Guidelines”) for the carriage, de-carriage, and channel position adjustments of the program channels broadcasted by cable television broadcasters. The NCC has held public hearings with industry and the general public and is expected to effectuate the Guidelines soon.

Taiwan’s cable broadcasting laws currently require that a cable broadcaster establish its own rules for the carriage and de-carriage of program channels (commonly known as program channels ‘on / off shelf ‘rules) which should be fair, reasonable and non-discriminative. Such rules are subject to a prior filing requirement with the NCC, as are any changes to such rules. The NCC is also authorized by law to require that a cable broadcaster make amendment to its program channels on / off shelf rules if the NCC considers any of its rules to be harmful to fair competition or to subscriber interests. The NCC has proposed the new Guidelines in an effort to better protect the interest of viewers and ensure smooth market order, Once the Guidelines becomes effective, all cable broadcasters will need to bring their own program channel on / off shelf rules into compliance with the Guidelines.

The main facets of the Guidelines include:

A cable broadcaster must fully disclose its on / off shelf rules to channel broadcasters.

Cable broadcasters should evaluate all on carriage requests (on-shelfed) from channel broadcasters in a fair and reasonable manner and should not reject requests without proper justification. Such evaluations should take into account market competition, industrial development, introduction of programs for ethnic minorities / children / educational purposes, compliance with NCC policies and applicable legislation, and evaluation records and any awards received by the program channel(s) at issue.

A rigorous review process should be undertaken when determining whether a program channel should be de-carried on (off-shelfed). The process should at least provide a mechanism for negotiation with the channel broadcaster, and an evaluation of the effect on subscriber interests. Compensation should be offered to subscribers if the de-carriage results in such compensation becoming necessary under the applicable subscriber agreements.

Changes to the position of a particular program channel (i.e., the channel number of the channel by which the program channel at issue is broadcasted) should take into account whether the replacement would be better in terms of quality and satisfaction by subscribers than the channel that is being replaced, and whether the replacement channel is in line with other channels nearby on the dial.

Cable broadcasters shall task specific internal units with overseeing on/off shelf and channel re-positioning determinations and such unit may solicit comments from consumer protection organizations, relevant business associations, and the public, when necessary for its decisions.

English translations of telecommunications and media laws and regulations are available from YANGMING PARTNERS' Legal Support Department.

This publication is intended to highlight selected legal developments and not to be comprehensive nor to provide legal advice. If you have any questions on issues reported here or if you have any issues you would like to see covered in future editions, please contact the editor:

Robert C. Lee, at +886-2-8725-6601, rclee@yangminglaw.com
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