Escudero tells ISPs: Fulfil promise of connecting people this Christmas
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should keep a close watch on the performance of the country’s Internet service providers (ISPs) this Christmas season when Filipinos are expected to reconnect with their loved ones abroad, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said on Wednesday.
Escudero said the NTC should monitor whether telcos are adhering to their “advertised” Internet speeds during the holidays to ensure a reliable web connection in the Philippines whose 10 million nationals are working abroad.
“Dapat walang trapik sa Internet connection sa lahat ng oras, lalo ng ngayong panahon ng Kapaskuhan. Alam naman ng NTC at mga telco na taon-taon may rush hour tuwing buwan ng Disyembre kaya dapat napaghandaan na ito,” he said in a statement.
(There should be no hitch in the Internet connection all the time especially during Christmas. The NTC and telephone companies should be aware that Internet usage reaches its peak in December, so they should be prepared for it.)
The senator said the NTC should ensure that the Internet and other services are in accordance with the promise of telcos that subscribers can connect hassle-free with their loved ones through video chat or through free call and messaging apps such as Viber and WhatsApp among others.
“This is so our countrymen will no longer be forced to spend money on regular call and short messaging service (SMS) to reach out to their relatives in the absence of reliable Internet connection,” he said.
As the government agency in charge of regulating and overseeing the telecommunications sector, the NTC conducted speed tests in September amid complaints on slow Internet speed in the country.
The tests were conducted to check if the country’s ISPs were following the agency’s Memorandum Circular No. 07-08-2015, which states that “fixed wireless broadband” must have a data connection speed of at least 256 kilobits per second (Kbps) or in accordance with the standard set by the International Telecommunications Union.
Escudero also reiterated his call for the NTC to conduct an audit to assess the coverage and quality of service of telcos in the country so the regulatory body can come up with rules on acceptable speed and cost of Internet service in the country.
An audit, he said, is necessary to determine the gravity of the problem of slow Internet connection in the country.
The results of the audit will become the basis for NTC to come up with new guidelines on acceptable speed and cost that telcos are duty-bound to follow, said the senator.
Escudero said the new guidelines should also effectively compel the telcos to invest in infrastructure and technologies development so they can deliver faster data connection to their subscribers
Global Internet provider Ookla, in its latest household download index report, ranked the Philippines 21st out of 22 countries in Asia in terms of Internet speed, trailed only by Afghanistan.
It has a household download speed of 3.64 Megabits per second (Mbps); top-ranked Singapore has a broadband speed of 122.43 Mbps and Hong Kong clocked in with 102.96 Mbps.
Despite the poor service, Escudero noted that the Philippines still has one of the most expensive Internet services in the world. IDL
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