Public should also enjoy ‘APEC-quality’ Internet speed, says Chiz

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Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the high-speed Internet service provided by a telecommunications company to some 8,000 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) delegates could also be enjoyed by Filipino subscribers if only the government sets the rules for a fast and affordable Internet access in the country.

Internet speeds of up to 136 Mbps were experienced by members of the media at the International Media Center during the APEC conference. Credit: Paolo Montecillo
Internet speeds of up to 136 Mbps were experienced by members of the media at the International Media Center during the APEC conference. Credit: Paolo Montecillo

Escudero said the kind of service offered by PLDT at the venues of the APEC meetings in Manila proves that telcos have the capability to provide a better Internet service to subscribers.

He was referring to the 8.5 Gbps of Internet and voice connectivity provided by the telco in APEC venues and host hotels during the Nov. 18-19 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila.

PLDT said it also boosted up to 100 Mbps the Wi-Fi services in the hotels where the delegates stayed during the summit.

“Now, if only the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) could come up with new guidelines on acceptable speed and cost that telcos are duty-bound to follow, then reliable Internet service will be a norm here in the country and not just for special occasions like the APEC,” Escudero said.

The lawmaker has been urging 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.

“We can only determine the gravity of the problem of slow Internet connection in the country through an audit conducted by the NTC. The results will become the basis for the guidelines that telcos are duty-bound to follow,” Escudero said.

He 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.

The vice-presidential bet earlier said that the problem of Internet speed and service in the Philippines could be easily addressed if telcos are forced by law to set aside a portion of their huge revenues for better network infrastructure.

Citing an NTC study, one of the biggest telcos in the Philippines said that, if accurate, $16.6 billion (around P750 billion) is needed to bring 2 megabits per second download speeds to 80 percent of Philippine households by 2016.

Escudero said with the billions of pesos in profits reaped by telcos at the expense of subscribers, it is more than fair and reasonable for the government to compel them 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.

The latest household download index report by global Internet provider Ookla 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.

Even with such poor service, the Philippines is tagged as having one of the most expensive Internet services in the world.

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