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Taiwan upgrades satellite network system on Taiping Island

04/18/2024 09:22 PM
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Photo courtesy of Ministry of Digital Affairs April 18, 2024
Photo courtesy of Ministry of Digital Affairs April 18, 2024

Taipei, April 18 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) announced that the establishment of signal connectivity with a newly-launched satellite network system on Taiping Island has boosted communication efficiency on the island.

The new system enables coastguard personnel stationed there to use improved communication and better meets their audiovisual needs, it said.

According to a MODA press release issued on Wednesday, Wi-Fi and mobile network services were officially activated on Taiping Island a day earlier, following the completion of tests on the newly installed Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite terminal equipment.

That equipment is capable of sending and receiving signals from SES's (a satellite communications service provider based in Luxembourg) MEO satellites, a type of Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) satellite.

The ministry said the total transmission bandwidth available to personnel on the island can now reach 25 Megabits per second (Mbps), representing an approximate 3.9-fold increase in communication efficiency compared to before.

"[It] greatly enhances the network communication quality between Taiping Island and Taiwan [main island]," it added.

Taiping Island is a Taiwan-controlled island situated 1,600 kilometers southwest of Kaohsiung, hosting around 200 coastguard personnel who are overseen by the Coast Guard Administration under the Ocean Affairs Council (OAC). The island in the South China Sea is also claimed by Vietnam, China and the Philippines.

Due to geographical factors, the communication bandwidth on Taiping has always been poor, hampering external communications.

In a reply to CNA, MODA said that in the past, communication on Taiping Island relied solely on a Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellite, with limited bandwidth able to provide only voice calls and basic internet needs.

Delays used to be common, especially when multiple personnel accessed the internet simultaneously, MODA added.

"Now, with the 25 Mbps bandwidth provided by NGSO satellite terminal equipment, the bandwidth available has been increased...ensuring smooth communication and meeting the demands for video calls or a certain quality of audiovisual needs," the ministry said.

Meanwhile, OAC Minister Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that personnel on Taiping island, including coastguard and military personnel, greatly benefited from the update.

"I asked a few colleagues on the island about the communication situation, and received satisfactory responses from all of them, which is reassuring," Kuan added.

The head of OAC -- responsible for integrating the planning, coordination and implementation of maritime-related policies -- said the OAC will next endeavor to improve communications on Dongsha Island.

Situated 450 kilometers southwest of Kaohsiung, Dongsha Island is the only territory controlled by Taiwan in the South China Sea, other than Taiping Island.

(By Sunny Lai)


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