Lapid wants no expiration period of unused internet data
MANILA, Philippines— Unused internet data will no longer have an expiration period if a bill filed by Senator Lito Lapid becomes a law.
Lapid’s Senate Bill No. 1880 filed Wednesday seeks to institutionalize a “roll-over data scheme” for all internet service providers (ISPs)
“Through this scheme, unused data allocation from internet data packages or promos will not expire but will instead carry over to succeeding months until the end of the year,” he said in explaining his measure.
“If at the end of the year, there are still remaining unused data allocations, the same will be converted into rebates, which in turn, may be used for future subscriptions. Subscribers will definitely get the full value of the money they have spent in paying for these packages and promo.”
Lapid said this would prevent the common scenario wherein subscribers would lose megabytes, if not gigabytes, of data allocation “just because the expiry date of the package or promo had already passed.”
“This situation is quite unfortunate in light of our current data-hungry, internet-based world, especially for the poor who are forced to allocate their meager financial resources for internet subscriptions,” he went on.
Under his bill, all ISPs are mandated to implement a roll-over data system for their subscribers.
Unused data every month will be rolled over and accumulated until the last month of the year, as proposed in the measure.
The bill also provides that all unused data allocation for a year may be converted as rebates, which could be used to pay for internet service in the succeeding year of subscription.
To ensure strict compliance of the scheme, Lapid is proposing a fine of up to P1 million against non- compliant ISPs and even revoking licenses and franchises for repeat offenders.
The senator underscored the importance of passing the measure when many have become heavily dependent on the internet as they were forced to work from home due to the threats of the 2019 coronavirus disease.
“This transformation has brought to the fore the gaps and weaknesses of our country’s internet infrastructure and capabilities,” he said, noting how the country is lagging behind other nations in terms of internet speed.
“It is therefore imperative that the government enact and implement policies, measures and strategies to address this connectivity problem and provide interventions that will improve our citizens’ experience with the quality of services offered by Internet service providers (ISPs), and telecommunications companies operating in our country,” Lapid said. [ac]
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