Chunghwa Telecom says broadband speeds have increased, but a recent report says Taiwan's broadband is still slow and expensive. (File Photo/Wang Ying-hao)
Taiwanese internet users are paying high prices for slow broadband connections compared to members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a local consumer-rights group said on Jan. 12 in Taipei.
According to the Consumers' Foundation, the average download speed of broadband internet connections in Taiwan is 13 megabits per second (Mbps), far lower than the 37.5Mbps average for the 34 members of the OECD, a group comprised mostly of developed countries. The average download speeds in Taiwan's neighboring countries, Japan and South Korea, are 80Mbps and 55.6Mbps, respectively, said the report.
Although Taiwan is not a member of the OECD, the country's average internet connection speed puts it fourth from the bottom on the list when ranked it against major developed countries. Yet the foundation said that on the same list, Taiwanese consumers are paying the second-highest prices for broadband service.
Joann Su, chair of the foundation, said telecom-related issues account for the largest portion of complaints the group receives every year, highlighting the disdain consumers have for slow internet connections and unreasonably high charges. Su has urged the country's government to address the issue.
Lin Tsung-nan, deputy secretary-general of the foundation, added that Taiwan lacks regulations requiring internet service providers to guarantee minimum connection speeds.
Taiwan's main broadband service provider and largest telecom company, Chunghwa Telecom, responded to the criticism by saying that the report reflects outdated information collected in 2010.
Citing data from online broadband speed testing service Speedtest, Chunghwa said the average broadband speed in Taiwan has improved from 8.32Mbps at the end of 2010 to the current 18.54Mbps. The country's global ranking has climbed from 35th to 15th place during the same period, the company added, surpassing Japan, which is ranked 29th.
Moreover, Chunghwa said, after its launch of 50Mbps and 100Mbps services, the average speed for its internet users has now reached 22.22Mbps and is expected to increase to 158Mbps after the introduction of a 1 gigabit per second package.
Lin Tsung-nan 林宗男