NTC told to hike minimum broadband speed to 1.5 Mbps

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An organization of tech professionals has asked telecom regulator National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to hike the country?s minimum broadband speed limit to 1.5 Mbps in the next six months.


The Computer Professionals? Union (CPU) said its suggestion is in line with the minimum speed proposed by the International Telecommunications Union, the world?s telecommunication standards body, under Recommendation I.113 of the ITU Standardization Sector.

?1.5 Mbps is a far cry from the 25 Mbps standard in the US, much less the 1 Gbps currently enjoyed by our neighbor Korea,? said Mac Yanto, deputy secretary-general of CPU.

In a circular issued last year, the NTC pegged the country’s minimum broadband speed at 256 Kbps.

?The 256 Kbps minimum broadband speed we currently have is comparable to the Internet speed we had 20 years ago. It is less than one-twelfth of our current average connection speed of 3153 Kbps. It is not even enough to meet the recommended speeds for video calls and watching a video online,? said Yanto.

?If the NTC is really intent on making Globe and PLDT deliver better Internet services, then it should as a regulatory body impose higher standards, starting with a higher minimum broadband speed,? added Yanto.

The NTC last week approved the joint use of the highly coveted 700 MHz frequency by PLDT and Globe after the telcos bought the telecom assets of San Miguel Corporation.

?By setting higher standards for Internet speed, the incoming Duterte administration will also make true its promise of recognizing Internet as a basic infrastructure and ensuring fast and reliable Internet for the public. This is much needed not just by the economy but by common citizens who stand to benefit tremendously from having improved and reliable Internet connectivity,? added Yanto.

CPU said the NTC and the soon-to-be-established DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology), as government regulators, should likewise update their regulations on the pricing scheme of telcos.

?We do not want higher broadband speeds to translate to higher costs for the public. If the telcos were able to roll out up to 100 Mbps of Internet for foreign delegates and VIPs during the APEC summit last November, then they should be able to provide a small fraction of that to the public, at the least cost to the people,? said Yanto.

?In order to deliver quality and reliable Internet, setting a minimum broadband speed is just the first step. The next logical step would be to review RA 7925, or the Public Telecommunications Act of 1995, which effectively liberalized the Philippine telecommunications industry and placed the public at the mercy of private telecom providers,? added Yanto.

?The Duterte administration should also start seriously looking into setting up a national broadband network so that Internet, which was declared by the United Nations as a basic human right, becomes a public service and not a profit-oriented commodity,? ended Yanto.

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