Lack of broadband network slows Internet
The whistle-blower in the controversial $329 million National Broadband Network (NBN)-ZTE deal during President Gloria Arroyo’s term urged the government to pursue a national broadband project to help solve Internet speeds in the Philippines, which some consumer groups said was slow and expensive compared to neighbors in the region.
A statement on Friday quoting engineer Rodolfo Noel I. Lozada showed that issues today on Internet speed could have been avoided “if only the government had built the National Broadband Network.”
Lozada, former CEO of the state-run Philippine Forest Corp. and a consultant with the National Economic and Development Authority, played a key role in the scandal that involved alleged irregularities between the Philippine government and Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE. The NBN-ZTE was eventually scrapped in 2007.
“That is similar to how government had built the public roads and highways during the agricultural and industrial era. It is a must for the government to provide for a big digital highway that allows very fast and free public transport of digital products and goods,” Lozada said in the statement.
He said that with an NBN in place, private service providers will be limited to providing on a pay-per-use arrangement the last mile connection to the end users and the local loop connection to the NBN.
This design provides “a very fast and low cost Internet service to the entire nation, to both cities and rural barangays,” Lozada said.
Lozada also criticized the lack of government support in providing a national broadband network.
“This is where the heart of the current problem lies. The government has not built any major digital highway for public use. Practically all of the digital roads and highways are privately owned and imposes a ‘toll fee’ per use,” Lozada said.
In a Senate hearing tackling the current Internet speeds in the country on Aug. 18, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) highlighted the need for Internet service providers (ISP) who provide broadband services to guarantee speeds of no less than 256 kilobytes per second.
The NTC is targeting to promulgate the new rules this November on mobile broadband speed initially covering only fixed-line services. It plans to release the guidelines for mobile services on Aug. 24 for discussion with stakeholders.
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