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MODA targets completion of 700 satellite hot spots by end of 2024

03/27/2024 07:54 PM
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Source: OneWeb
Source: OneWeb

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) announced on Wednesday that by the end of 2024, it expects to complete the establishment of 700 hot spots within Taiwan's territory that can be used for satellite communication during emergency situations like wartime.

At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Bruce Cheng (鄭明宗), director general of MODA's Department of Communications and Cyber Resilience, said MODA has implemented three major strategies to ensure the availability and security of Taiwan's communication network during emergency situations.

As part of the first strategy, titled "The Construction of an Emergency Communication Network on Land, Sea, and Air," the ministry has initiated the establishment of 700 hot spots in Taiwan to transmit and receive signals from Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) satellites since last year, Cheng said.

"This year, we will have a satellite system that belongs exclusively to our country... The purpose of this system is to provide crucial communication for the military and the government in times of large-scale or near-complete network disruptions. It can serve as a command system for essential communication channels during such circumstances," Cheng said.

According to information from MODA, the ministry initiated the "Program for the Digital Resilience Validation of Emerging Technologies for Contingency or Wartime Applications" last year to verify the feasibility of NGSO satellites as an emergency backup communication network.

Eleven satellite terminal equipment sites (hot spots) and 5 cellular base station satellite backhaul sites (backhauls) were set up last year, and it is expected that a total of 700 domestic hot spots, 70 backhauls, and 3 foreign hot spot sites will be established by the end of this year, according to MODA.

Cheng added that the verification project involves first-generation satellites owned by the UK-based satellite company OneWeb, with signals covering Taiwan originating from gateways in Japan, Thailand, and Guam.

The MODA supports telecom companies in Taiwan collaborating with OneWeb to establish a gateway for second-generation satellites in Taiwan as it will provide advantages such as shorter transmission distances and increased resilience, Cheng said.

Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang (left) and Director General of Department of Communications and Cyber Resilience Bruce Cheng explain the ministry's emergency communication network project in Taipei on Wednesday. CNA photo March 27, 2024
Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang (left) and Director General of Department of Communications and Cyber Resilience Bruce Cheng explain the ministry's emergency communication network project in Taipei on Wednesday. CNA photo March 27, 2024

During the press conference, Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang (唐鳳) was asked about the transmission test on Taiping Island, a Taiwan-controlled island situated 1,600 kilometers southwest of Kaohsiung in the South China Sea, which is also a priority location for establishing hot spots and backhauls.

She said that Taiping Island currently uses synchronous satellites for communication, providing only one-fifth of the bandwidth compared to Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, a type of NGSO satellites.

With the implementation of MEO satellites, Taiping Island's bandwidth is projected to increase five-fold, and the transmission test on the island is expected to take place before the end of April, Tang said.

Regarding the inclusion of MODA's satellite system in this year's defense exercises, Tang said that there have been ongoing discussions between MODA and the Ministry of National Defense, covering such things as the number of hot spots and network bandwidth required for defense purposes, and their potential use in this year's military exercises.

(By Sunny Lai)

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