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Escudero seeks audit of telcos to speed up Internet

Senator Francis Escudero wants the National Telecommunications Commission to audit the network coverage of telecommunication companies in order to come up with new rules in ensuring the quality and reliability of fixed and mobile broadband services in the country.

“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, who earlier announced its vice presidential bid, said.

The new guidelines should effectively compel the telecommunications firms to invest in infrastructure and technology development so they can deliver faster data connection to their subscribers, he said.

Escudero said the problem of pathetic Internet speed and service in the Philippines could be easily addressed if the companies were forced by law to allocate a portion of their huge revenues for better network infrastructure.

The NTC earlier estimated that the Philippines needed $16.6 billion, or around P750 billion, 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.

“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,” he added.

Escudero said the NTC, as the agency that regulates and supervises the telecommunications sector, should make sure the data experience met the requirements and expectations of the country’s Internet users, who are now close to 40 million.

“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,” the senator said.

Escudero’s statement came after the NTC issued the rules on the measurement of fixed broadband/Internet access service, which set a minimum speed of 256 kbps.

The new rules aim to protect subscribers against bill shock and false advertising. The regulator is also proposing rules on the measurement of mobile broadband/Internet access service to ensure the quality service of local telecommunication companies.

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