《TAIPEI TIMES》 Surplus 5G profits to be put to public use: Kolas
An image of a 5G chip is projected over a man during a presentation in Taipei on Thursday. Photo: CNA
WINDFALL: The bids have more than tripled the expected NT$44 billion and the excess would be used to fund 5G infrastructure and online events, Kolas Yotaka said
By Lee Hsin-fang / Staff reporter
As the bids for the nation’s first 5G auction have far exceeded expectations, the Executive Yuan would use the surplus profits to fund projects that would serve the public interest, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said on Friday.
The bids have totaled more than NT$138 billion （US$4.60 billion）, more than tripling the National Communications Commission’s expectation of NT$44 billion, Kolas said.
The Executive Yuan plans to use the money to finance 5G infrastructure, narrow the digital development gap between urban and rural areas, and promote online events that advance the public interest, she added.
Academics have suggested setting up a dedicated fund to develop 5G infrastructure and boost the technical capabilities of related industries.
The excess profits would be listed as central government revenue for this fiscal year, Kolas said, adding that the government might channel the money to agencies that have drawn up plans to bridge the digital divide in the nation.
Although building base stations in hard-to-reach areas could be unfeasible, the government might deem them necessary to facilitate rescue missions in mountainous areas, an official with knowledge of the matter said.
In other news, President Tsai Ing-wen’s （蔡英文） administration is drafting a national action plan to pave the way for Taiwan’s admission to the Open Government Partnership （OGP）, sources said.
Tsai has tasked the Executive Yuan with preparing the first version of the plan by May, the sources said.
They cited Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang （唐鳳） as saying during a Cabinet meeting that prospective OGP members must have made efforts to protect the freedom of speech and democracy, making China’s participation unlikely, which could benefit Taiwan’s bid to join the initiative.
The action plan would detail the nation’s objectives and progress on promoting an open government, thus reassuring the international community of its commitment to advance the cause, they said.
The areas that government agencies have pledged to make more transparent include efforts to crack down on money laundering, the amount of political donations received, the decisionmaking process at all levels of government regarding certain issues and public-private collaborations on promoting open data, they added.
They have also pledged to improve channels for civic participation in the government’s decisionmaking process; facilitate dialogues that promote inclusiveness, and gender and racial diversity; and improve corporate transparency by making beneficiaries known to the public.