Bam: Telcos must declare minimum Internet speed on ads

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Instead of the ?up to? phrase, Sen. Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino wants telecommunication companies to put average minimum Internet speed on all forms of advertisements so as not to mislead subscribers.

Sen. Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino
Sen. Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino

“We are pushing changes in advertising. It would be good for our consumers if what is communicated is clearer,” said Aquino, after the hearing of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship on the slow and expensive Internet connection in the country.

During the hearing, Aquino said part of the consumers’ dissatisfaction is that flyers and other advertisements claim speeds of up to between 5 to 10 Mbps but experience just the average when they subscribed.

“Why can’t we just advertise the average speed? The one that I will get for 24 hours of the day rather than the one that I will get three or four hours of the day,” Aquino asked.

“In the same way, we ask people selling products to just share the common experience rather than the special experience,” he added.

The senator also wants the average minimum speed to be printed in large fonts instead of fine print so consumers will be properly informed of what they are getting from Internet providers.

Department of Justice (DOJ) assistant secretary Geronimo Sy supported Aquino’s call, saying the agency did the same with the budget promo fares by airlines years ago.

“It’s a no-brainer for telcos to actually adjust their advertising,” said Sy, head of the DOJ’s Office of Competition.

Sy also promised the committee to issue an advisory to telcos to put average Internet speeds on their advertisements.

In addition, Aquino will push for the amendment of a 78-year-old law making Internet a basic service, giving government greater control over pricing and quality.

“We’ll push for the amendment of Public Service Act which is a 1936 law. We’re talking about the high-tech information age and we’re still using a 1936 law,” said Aquino.

Aquino also called on the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to check if indeed congestion is the main cause of slow Internet.

Aquino would also push for added budget for NTC for purchase of added equipment to monitor the Internet service in the country.

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