NTC must compel PLDT to connect to local Internet exchange, says Chiz

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Exasperated by the slow Internet speed in the country, Sen. Chiz Escudero has urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to force telco giant PLDT to connect to a local Internet exchange operated by the government.

Sen. Chiz Escudero
Sen. Chiz Escudero

“The NTC should start cracking the whip and fix the system immediately. It cannot be ‘business as usual’ anymore. Let’s do away with the mentality of just accepting the present situation and start doing something about it,” Escudero said.

The senator said the NTC should start by asking PLDT, the country’s largest telecommunications company, why it continues to refuse to connect to the country’s own Internet exchange facility called the Philippine Open Internet Exchange (PHOpenIX) which was developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) primarily to allow a faster exchange of data among users.

“PLDT does not want to connect to PHOpenIX. Instead, it connects to the Hong Kong Internet Exchange (HKIX) through its private Vitro Internet Exchange (VIX). I find this questionable because routing data overseas and then terminating here in the country takes a lot longer than routing and terminating data flow within the country,” Escudero said.

“Why doesn’t PLDT just connect to PHOpenIX? PLDT is the biggest telco in the country. Its sheer size, and the influence it wields in the information and technology industry, could very well change the IT landscape overnight. But by refusing to connect to PHOpenIX, PLDT is holding the country’s Internet world hostage,” he added.

The senator said PLDT chooses to route data outside the country despite the availability of PHOpenIX, which allows all-local data traffic routing.

Escudero also asked the NTC to look into reports that PLDT refuses to establish direct peering with telco competitors, saying this may be considered a monopolistic business practice.

Earlier, the senator cited recent reports by global Internet providers Ookla and Akamai that showed the dismal state of internet speed in the Philippines. The latest Ookla household download index report ranked the Philippines 21st out of 22 countries in Asia, trailed only by Afghanistan.

“The problem is that government agencies that are supposed to monitor these telcos and help consumers don’t seem to feel the urgency of the situation,” he said.

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