Solon reminds NTC of telco deadline to improve Internet services

Published November 20, 2020, 5:33 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Tarlac Rep. Victor Yap reminded Friday the National Telecommunications Commission of President Duterte’s order for telecommunications companies (telcos), which provide Internet connectivity to Filipinos, to fix their poor service by December.

“I remember the President making a statement months ago to improve the services. I’m very much interested to see and request the NTC together with the national telcos and even local service providers…ano ba ‘yung kanilang declared service na nagagawa ngayon, speed or whatever (what are their declared services, like Internet speed or whatever)?” panel chairman Yap asked NTC Director Imelda Walcien about this during an Information and Communications Technology committee hearing as Malacañang’s deadline approaches.

“Mayroon ka bang kopya nung report or any report nung service? For one, penetration , saan ba ‘yung service nila talaga; two, ‘yung speed ng Internet na pino-provide nila in relation to what the President said. Shape up di ba? By December (Do you have any report regarding their services? For one, penetration –what areas do they cover; two, their Internet speed in relation to what the President said. He wants them to shape up by December right)?” added Yap.

During his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address last July 27, Duterte slammed the telcos for their “lousy service” and warned them that he would do something about it by December if they fail to improve.

Yap continued: “Mayroon silang default responsibility sa atin (The telcos have a default responsibility with us). I think this would be very important by December. So I take this opportunity na i-request na ito (to request it now). This is very important that we (panel) make a report as well.”

But Walcien didn’t appear to have close to the kind of data that the former Tarlac governor wanted to see.

“Sir ‘yung report po tungkol sa kanilang speed is being undertaken by the National Capital Region-NTC and nagko-consolidate po kami ng report (Sir the report regarding speed is being undertaken by the National Capital Region-NTC and we are consolidating the report),” she said.

“Hindi puwedeng NCR lang, director, please (Not just NCR, director, please). The entire country needs this. Sana ibigay ‘yung sa entire country (I hope they give a report covering the entire country),” Yap said, sounding exasperated.

“’Yung scope ng kanilang responsibility ang kailangan natin (What we need is the scope of their responsibility)…whether you do the report with them, it doesn’t matter. They’re here,” the panel chairman said, referring to people from telco giants Globe and Smart. The telco representatives served as resource persons in the virtual hearing.

Yap had earlier welcomed Duterte’s tough talk on telcos even as the Philippines remained the butt of jokes regarding its snail-paced Internet connection. His admission that he was disconnected and reconnected to the Zoom-based meeting “more than a dozen times” due to poor connection was also ironic.

Walcien promised to submit to the panel all the data that they currently have. She noted that the information Yap was looking for doesn’t get sent to her unit, but is directly submitted to the Office of the Commissioner.

“Ang available lang po kasi sa ngayon na nagme-measure ng mga quality of service is the NCR of NTC (As of now, the available measurements on quality of service is that of NTC-NCR),” she explained.