Taiwan unveils digital infrastructure improvement plan

The plan calls for US$1.5 billion over 8 years to improve digital infrastructure

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Executive Yuan announced plans as part of the “Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project” on Tuesday to invest NT$46.056 billion (US$1.51 billion) over the next eight years to upgrade Taiwan’s digital infrastructure, bridge the rural-urban divide and cultivate private investment in related industries.

The infrastructure plan seeks to improve access to broadband Internet for rural residents, as well as develop a 5G mobile services network, which the National Communications Commission (NCC) said should be ready by 2020, and an Internet of things (IoT) network.

Officials said the target is for 90 percent broadband services coverage nationwide.

The plan also calls for enhancing information security, improving a disaster-relief communications systems and developing a cloud-computing system for public education. Information security has become an important focus in Taiwan following recent DDoS attacks against the tech, manufacturing and financial services industry.

National Development Council Minister Chen Tain-jy (陳添枝) said that government investment in the expansion of broadband Internet would spur more private investment, which he noted several government agencies have estimated could reach about NT$238 billion within the eight-year time frame of the plan.

Facilitating broadband access to rural communities is essential to safeguard the right to equal access for all, especially those who live in remote areas, National Communications Commission spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.

Government digital storage facilities will be upgraded to allow the storage of higher-definition content, while use of digital networks will be promoted among content producers. Officials said artists and other creative content producers would benefit from higher-speed broadband services, allowing for the transmission of high-definition images and video content.

There are also plans to promote interest in technology by connecting schools to virtual classrooms and installing interactive systems at technology parks. Officials hope that such initiatives will foster interest in technology innovation among students.

The government hopes to see better integration of hardware, software and content, Minister Without Portfolio Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) said. Wu noted content and application services will grow increasingly important.

He added that the digital cultural and creative industry output value could reach NT$1 trillion by 2020, NT$200 billion higher than it is today.

Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟) said that he looks forward to using a portion of the budget to purchase equipment for classrooms and install fiber internet connections in schools, which he hopes will cultivate future innovations in the country.

The government’s “Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project” budget is set at NT$1 trillion over the next eight years. The digital infrastructure development plan also covers rail transportation, water environment, green energy and urban-rural development.