Hualien Cable Subscribers Stuck With Limited Options

Kbro Bid To Operate In The County Nixed

Taichung based Fengmeng Cable TV Co. has been knocked back in its bid to operate a subscription cable TV service system in eastern Taiwan’s Hualien County.

A subsidiary of Kbro Co., a media company based in Taipei with a particular focus on publishing and broadcasting, Fengmeng’s attempt to enter the Hualien market was nixed by the National Communications Commission (NCC).

Typically, most geographical locations in Taiwan have just one cable provider.

At present Hualien cable subscribers are limited to just two service areas in which around 50,000 subscribers pay for cable channel packages.

In one of these areas, Hualien Cable TV Network has a monopoly on services offered according to Huang Jui-ti, of the NCC.

Access to the other area was blocked based on the belief by the NCC that “The commission (also) doubted whether Fengmeng would earn enough revenue in the initial stage of operations to pay for infrastructure costs” according to Huang.

This statement comes on the back of reports that the cable channel packages on offer would have been very similar to current offers. As such, there would likely be no significant switchover in service providers by local residents.

Reports online in the wake of the announcement also saw NCC spokesperson Hsiao Chi-hung reveal larger scale issues facing Taiwan’s cable TV industry: “What we have seen since 2010 is that cable operators have engaged in malicious competition by launching a price war and stealing customers from one another,” adding “The practice would only lead to a chaotic market, causing cable operators to lose subscribers to the MOD system and over-the-top content providers.”

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