Senate to pass law on minimum standard for internet speed

Published July 30, 2020, 4:18 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate is legislating a measure that would set a minimum standard for internet connection speed in the country.


Senator Grace Poe explained on Thursday that with Senate Bill No. 471, they hope to encourage the Department of Information and Communications Techonology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to put in place a certain standard for the internet services offered by telecommunication companies and internet service providers.

“Dapat magtalaga ang NTC at DICT ng tamang internet speed (The NTC and the DICT should a set the proper internet speed),” Poe said during the government’s daily “Laging Handa” briefing.

SB No. 471 had been discussed during the hearing of the Senate public service committee, which Poe chairs, last July 1.

The measure, filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto in July last year, proposes a minimum internet download speed of 10 Megabits per second (Mbps) for mobile broadband/internet access, and 20 Mbps for fixed and fixed wireless broadband/internet access.

The service providers shall also “work towards providing an average internet connection speed above global average”, the bill read.

Poe acknowledged that the proposed minimum internet speed was low compared to the average internet speed in other countries, but she recalled service providers saying that speeding up internet services cannot be done immediately.

She also said that Congress cannot legislate a permanent speed for internet services due to the dynamic nature of techonology.

Still, she pointed out out the need for its improvement due to the shift to online transactions and learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

During the July 1 hearing, NTC Deputy Commission Edgardo Cabarios said the state regulator does not prescribe a minimum internet speed at present.

He cited, however, a “very wide gap” between the minimum and the maximum speed promised for the internet services.

“So we are thinking of coming up with rules of setting [a] percentage of the maximum speed. Say, if they offer 10 Mpbs maximum, at 70 percent, the minimum average should be around 7 Mbps. These are the things we are considering now,” Cabarios then said.

According to Ookla’s June 2020 Speedtest Global Index report, the Philippines has an average download speed of 16.17 Mbps for mobile connection speed, ranking 114th out of 138 countries. South Korea, which topped the list, has an average mobile connection speed of 110.10 Mbps.

For fixed broadband, the Phippines placed 108th out of 174 countries with an average download speed of 23.74 Mbps. Singapore has the fastest with an average download speed of 208.16 Mbps.