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TTC picked to lead Taiwan digital communications resilience project

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Various satellite models and components are displayed at a press event on May 21, 2023.

Taipei, July 7 (CNA) The Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) on Friday announced that the Telecom Technology Center (TTC) has been selected to head up a project for improving the resiliency of Taiwan's digital communications network.

MODA said it had sought out the nation's research and academic institutions to submit proposals on "response or wartime applications of new technology to strengthen digital communications resilience," including employing nongeostationary satellite internet.

Following deliberations by MODA's associated academics, the ministry declared on Friday that the budget for the project had been granted to TTC, with a contract already signed between MODA and TTC on Thursday.

In accordance with the contract, TTC is required to set up 11 terminals for nongeostationary satellite internet and also five links for cellular satellite backhauls around Taiwan by the end of 2023.

TTC is also contractually obliged to establish 21 satellite internet terminals and nine backhaul links in Taiwan, and one terminal in a foreign country for testing purposes by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

In total, MODA said TTC's goal is to have over 700 domestic terminals, three overseas terminals, and 70 links up and running by the end of 2024.

MODA said that it was likely that the infrastructure would be installed first in Taiwan's outlying counties and places without heterogeneous wireless network gateways.

Furthermore, the project will stress test the emergency application capabilities of disaster warning systems, roaming functionality and information security infrastructure, MODA said.

According to the ministry, this is designed to ensure that Taiwan's commanding and governing bodies can retain a considerable communication capability during times of disaster and war.

MODA encouraged nongeostationary satellite systems equipment providers in Taiwan and from other countries to seek out partnership opportunities with TTC.

MODA also addressed a Bloomberg report that claimed Taiwan would need low-earth-orbit satellite networks to maintain internet connectivity in the event of a Chinese invasion.

Noting that telecommunications companies providing such networks are legally required to have no Chinese investment, and under 49 percent direct foreign ownership or 60 percent indirect foreign shareholders, MODA said this ruled out most current suppliers.

While foreign companies may still provide satellite communications to Taiwan by working with a domestic telecommunications company to bypass the Telecommunications Management Act, MODA would still have to heavily scrutinize such companies when approving rights to Taiwan's radio frequencies.

The companies would have to be strictly examined by national security and cross-strait agencies to guarantee that satellite providers working with Taiwanese telecommunications companies are not controlled by the Chinese government, MODA said

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