Press Release
December 23, 2015


Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero is urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to keep a close watch on the performance of the country's Internet service providers (ISPs) this Christmas season when Filipinos are expected to reconnect with their loved ones abroad.

Escudero said the NTC should monitor whether telcos are adhering to their "advertised" Internet speeds during the holidays to ensure a reliable web connection in the Philippines whose 10 million nationals are working abroad.

"Dapat walang trapik sa internet connection sa lahat ng oras, lalo ng ngayong panahon ng Kapaskuhan. Alam naman ng NTC at mga telco na taon-taon may rush hour tuwing buwan ng Disyembre kaya dapat napaghandaan na ito," said Escudero, the frontrunner in all nationwide surveys for vice president.

According to the veteran lawmaker, the NTC should ensure that the Internet and other services are in accordance with the promise of telcos as advertised so subscribers can connect hassle-free with their loved ones through video chat or through free call and messaging apps such as Viber, WhatsApp, etc.

"This is so our countrymen will no longer be forced to spend money on regular call and short messaging service (SMS) to reach out to their relatives in the absence of reliable Internet connection," he added.

As the government agency in charge of regulating and overseeing the telecommunications sector, the NTC conducted speed tests in September amid complaints on slow Internet speed in the country.

The tests were conducted to check if the country's Internet service providers were following the agency's Memorandum Circular No. 07-08-2015, which states that "fixed wireless broadband" must have a data connection speed of at least 256 kbps or in accordance with the standard set by the International Telecommunications Union.

But more than conducting speed tests, Escudero reiterated his call for 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.

Escudero said an audit is necessary to determine the gravity of the problem of slow Internet connection in the country.

The results of the audit will become the basis for NTC to come up with new guidelines on acceptable speed and cost that telcos are duty-bound to follow, according to the veteran lawmaker.

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.

Global Internet provider Ookla in its latest household download index report 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 Mbps; top-ranked Singapore has a broadband speed of 122.43 Mbps and Hong Kong clocked in with 102.96 Mbps.

Despite the poor service, the Philippines still has one of the most expensive Internet services in the world.

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