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Taiwan tests disaster roaming capabilities for first time

Emergency service network enables voice communication, internet access during wartime

(Unsplash, Clem Onojeghuo photo)

(Unsplash, Clem Onojeghuo photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) tested Taiwan’s “disaster roaming” capabilities on Thursday (Sept. 21) in the first such drill aimed at boosting the country’s digital resilience in emergencies.

Taking place at the Hsinchu County Stadium, the exercise examined whether the three main wireless carriers in Taiwan --Chunghwa Telecom, Far EasTone Telecommunications, and Taiwan Mobile -- could identify each other’s customers and support VoIP communication when any of them was rendered inaccessible.

The project was launched in April to ensure cross-carrier roaming services in the event of a disaster or emergency, for example during a war. According to MODA, people will be able to connect to any operational base stations to perform cross-network roaming to access the latest updates from the government.

The drill tested operations across different platforms and involved sessions where participants used their cellphones to report their status, read news, and search for information on evacuation.

An NT$6 billion (US$187 million) budget has been earmarked for the initiative, per CNA. The ministry said it will look to foreign countries for lessons on the implementation of cross-carrier roaming networks and design standard operational procedures for domestic telecom service providers.