Chiz asks NTC to produce rules for acceptable Internet speed, cost

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Phillippines – Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to come up with new set of guidelines for acceptable Internet speed and cost to compel telecommunications companies (telcos) into providing providing faster and cheaper Internet access.

Escudero said the new guidelines should effectively force the telcos to invest in infrastructure and technologies development so they can provide faster data connection to their subscribers.

The senator said the problem of the “pathetic” Internet may be resolved if the telcos are obliged by law to set aside a portion of their huge earnings for building of better network infrastructure.

"I think it is more than fair and reasonable to compel telcos to spend on the necessary infrastructure expansions and upgrades that will allow them to provide some real service to individuals and industries that need reliable data connections," Escudero said.

"If we want to sustain the growth momentum of the economy, particularly the BPO industry, we need to have the infrastructure to deliver reliable and high-quality Internet services," he added.

The senator cited an NTC study to support his claims, revealing that one of the biggest telcos in the country said $16.6 billion, or around P750 billion, is needed to bring 2 megabits per second download speeds to 80 percent of Philippine households by 2016.

"The telcos have been reaping billions of pesos in profits at the expense of their subscribers, who continue to complain about the slow and expensive data services they provide," Escudero said.

Escudero also urged the NTC to conduct an audit to assess the coverage and quality of service of telcos instead of merely testing Internet speeds.

"An audit is necessary to determine the gravity of the problem of slow Internet connection in the country. This will become the basis for NTC to come up with new guidelines on acceptable speed and cost that telcos are duty-bound to follow," Escudero said.

He added that NTC, as the agency that regulates and supervises the telecommunications sector, should make sure that the data experience meets the requirements and expectations of almost 40 million Internet users in the country.

Escudero called on the NTC as the its officials announced in a Senate hearing that the commission will conduct speed test and monitoring to determine if the telcos are providing what their advertised speed says this September.

The senator lamented that although Internet speed monitoring can identify deceptive or misleading advertising, it would not result in faster and cheaper Internet.

"When the NTC confirms what millions of subscribers have been saying, what then? This is why they need to go further and find ways to force telcos to address the problem by building better network infrastructures," he added.

NTC will carry out monitoring of Internet speed this month starting with household followed by mobile internet.

Last May, the Ookla Household Download Index released the ranking of Internet speed of Asian countries, showing Afghanistan, with only an average speed of 2.52 Megabit per second (Mbps), as the only country that had a slower download speed than the Philippines, which has an average of 3.64 Mbps but still  tagged as having the most expensive Internet services in the world.

RELATED: Infographic: If Philippines joined an Internet speed race | Chiz vows to look into ‘pathetic’ Internet speed in the Philippines












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