ICT group: NBN needed to fill void of SMC?s retreat in telco biz

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Photo credit: www.thehabarinetwork.com Photo credit: www.thehabarinetwork.com[/caption] In a statement, the Computer Professionals Union (CPU) urged the incoming Duterte administration, specifically the newly formed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), to ?seriously study and put into place a national broadband network.? ?Setting up such a network, sans the mistakes of the GMA administration that placed personal gain and foreign interests over the need for an Internet backbone, will ensure that Internet and mobile communications will be available even to the farthest reaches of the archipelago where profit margins are slim,? the group stated. ?An extensive and reliable public broadband network will leave the private duopoly no choice but to shape up or face large losses. It will also put into employ thousands of our engineers, technicians, and ICT experts who are highly skilled and up for this task,? it added. At the same time, CPU asked the Philippine Competition Commission to scrutinize the sale of San Miguel Corporation?s telecom assets to PLDT and Globe. The timing of the deal, which came at the tail-end President Aquino?s term, is suspicious, the group said. ?Even if the buyout costs P69.1 billion, it is still less than the P85 billion in investments estimated last year to be needed by both companies to keep up with the new competition from SMC,? it argued. CPU said the newly acquired will become ?bigger cash cows? for the two telcos, especially the highly prized 700 MHz bandwidth which is ideal for mobile broadband since it can cover more areas and therefore less base stations for the operators. Moreover, the group noted that the 700 MHz frequency was designated for mobile communications use by the International Telecommunications Union only late last year, which means that there is a just a handful of phone units available in the market that can use the frequency. ?Rolling out services in the 700 MHz band translates to even bigger profits in terms of new phone units to be sold that support the frequency,? it said. The sale of SMC?s telco assets, said CPU, is no assurance of better, faster, and more affordable Internet for the public. ?In a highly deregulated telecommunications industry where the government watchdog, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), has no real teeth to go after industry giants, the even more cemented power of the mobile duopoly means that the public will be at their mercy in terms of pricing, service, and reliability,? it said. ]]>

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