Solon wants House panel to summon internet providers to explain ‘slow, expensive service’

Published September 9, 2019, 1:25 PM

by Dr. Eduardo Gonzales

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology has been urged to summon telecommunication firms and other internet service providers to explain their “slow and expensive” internet service.

Department of Information and Communications Technology DICT logo
Department of Information and Communications Technology DICT logo (MANILA BULLETIN)

Aklan Rep. Carlito Marquez, vice-chairperson of the House panel, said Congress should step in and look into the “alarming and poor state of internet service in the country”, lamenting that it “impacts on consumer welfare, productivity, right to information and ultimately on our economy.”

“Recent study also showed that the country’s actual speed never reaches the advertised speed and the rudest part is that the Internet providers collect more every year,” Marquez said in filing  House Resolution 275.

He said local consumers would spend about P1,000 a month for Internet service with speeds of up to only 2.0 Mbps or about P2,000 for up to 5.0 Megabits per second (Mbps).

While, the largest communications company in Singapore offers 15 Mbps of Internet speed for 36.90 Singapore dollars or about  P1,312 a month, and in Thailand, 799 baht, or about P1,100 could give consumers 12 Mbps of connection, he added.

Citing the Akamai Technologies Q1 2017 State of the Internet report, Marquez said though the average internet connection speed had increased 20 percent year-on-year, the Philippines, at 5.5 megabit per second, once again had the lowest average connection speed among surveyed Asia Pacific countries.

“Even the advent of fiber Internet, the slow speed lingers in our midst,” he said.

“There is an urgent need to enhance effective competition in the telecommunications industry in order to promote the state policy of providing the environment for the emergence of communications structures suitable to the balanced flow of information,” Marquez said.

According to Ookla’s Speediest Global Index, the fixed broadband internet speeds in the country improved “significantly” from 7.91 Mbps in July 2016 to 19.28 Mbps in February 2019, a 143.74 percent improvement in two and a half years.

It said Internet speed for mobile broadband also “improved by 494.35 percent from 7.44 Mbps in July 2016 to 14.46 Mbps in February 2019.

The improvement ranked the Philippines 33rd in Asia and 23rd in Asia-Pacific in mobile broadband internet speed, it said.

“Despite the said reports and improved rankings, majority of Filipino Internet users are fed up by these lies of “flaunted improvements” and remain exasperated by the poor service of these local Internet service providers for the country’s slow connection to the World Wide Web in comparison to neighbouring countries in Asia where such services also cost less,” Marquez said.