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DICT to lower spectrum user’s fee for telcos

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star
DICT to lower spectrum userâs fee for telcos
Eliseo Rio Jr., undersecretary for operations, said the DICT will issue a department order to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for the lowering of the SUF for the provision of fixed internet to homes and offices by telcos.
STAR / Geremy Pintolo, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will lower the spectrum user’s fee (SUF) for telecommunication companies on their fixed WiFi internet connectivity services to homes and offices as a move to encourage telcos to improve the speed, accessibility and cost of their services to Filipino homes, especially during the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in most parts of the country due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Eliseo Rio Jr., undersecretary for operations, said the DICT will issue a department order to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for the lowering of the SUF for the provision of fixed internet to homes and offices by telcos.

“(DICT) Secretary (Gregorio) Honasan is going to come up with a department order, a policy that will lower the SUF for frequencies being used for internet connectivity, WiFi internet frequencies and IP (internet protocol) radio frequencies,” Rio told The STAR in a phone interview the other day.

“The spectrum user’s fee for all spectrum that are used for internet WiFi, IP radios will be reduced substantially,” Rio said.

He said the DICT wanted to encourage further the current surge in work-from-home (WFH) arrangements prevailing among private companies and the skeleton staff in government offices during the ECQ being enforced as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now, our problem is that the internet connectivity going to homes is not fast enough and the subscription price is expensive because many are connected through the mobile network (of big telcos),” Rio said.

“There is a serious shortage of cable to the home, fiber optic to the home, at least even just the fixed line, fixed wireless broadband,” Rio said, stressing the need to strengthen cyber infrastructure.

By lowering the SUF for the fixed wireless broadband internet services, Rio said they can help telcos, especially the small players in the other urban centers outside Metro Manila, focused on providing fixed internet services to homes.

“We can encourage small players, small ISPs (internet service providers), to improve their infrastructure and their services,” Rio said.

He said thousands of ISPs stand to benefit. “In our provinces, there are so many small ISPs,” he said.

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