Wednesday, June 19, 2024

New version of Open Access Bill filed in Senate as committee report

The Konektadong Pinoy Act — the new version of the Open Access Bill – was formally filed on Wednesday, May 22, as a committee report in the Senate.

Senate Bill Number 2699, submitted jointly by Committee on Science and Technology and the Committee on Public Services and Finance, seeks to overhaul the nation’s outdated telecommunications regulatory framework and align it with the requirements of the digital age.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, chair of the Committee on Science and Technology, said that by modernizing the country’s telecommunications landscape, the bill will address the barriers in connectivity like the longstanding issues on affordability, speed, and accessibility.

“We can no longer afford to be in the dark ages when it comes to the Internet and its accessibility to each and every Filipino,” he said.

The bill proposes four key reforms to ensure more reliable and affordable Internet connectivity for everyone.

It aims to simplify the process for telecom companies to get approval, removing the need for a legislative franchise. This change is intended to increase competition, reduce costs, and improve service quality.

Additionally, the bill focuses on managing the radio spectrum more efficiently to enhance service quality and expand coverage.

The legislation also requires telecom companies to share infrastructure, which will lower operational costs and make it easier for new companies to enter the market, especially in areas that currently have little or no service.

Lastly, the Konektadong Pinoy Act sets performance standards to ensure the bill’s effective implementation and protect the interests of Filipino consumers.

Cayetano said government services will become more accessible to every Filipino with improved Internet access streamlining bureaucratic procedures and enabling easier access to public information.

“The use of present technology affords the government the opportunity to bring itself and its services closer to the people,” he said.

The Konektadong Pinoy Act is slated for deliberation in Senate sessions. With the backing of government economic development agencies such as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), this bill represents a significant stride toward a more connected and empowered Philippines through affordable and reliable Internet access.

With the Senate committee report filed, Filipinos can anticipate Internet services that are both reasonably priced and of exceptional quality, particularly in unserved and underserved areas.

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