Enactment of proposed "Roll-over Internet Act" gets strong public support – lawmaker

Published June 4, 2021, 6:49 PM

by Ben Rosario

The proposed “Roll-over Internet Act” that was passed on third and final reading by the House of Representatives is not meant to penalize internet service providers (ISPs) but is aimed merely to protect public welfare especially as the nation continues to grapple with the harsh effects of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

1Pacman Partylist Rep. Enrico “Eric” Pineda, a principal author of House Bill 9057, gave this assurance even as he lauded the Lower House leadership for listing it among the priority measures of the 18th Congress.

Pineda said public support for passage of the measure has snowballed. HB 9057 is now awaiting Senate approval.

His 1Pacman partymate, Deputy Speaker Michael “Mikee” L. Romero is also a principal author of the HB 9057.

Pineda, chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment, said passage of the measure underscores the importance of improving internet service in the country as Filipinos have become too dependent on such technology for work and study from home schemes due to the effects of the pandemic.

The bill seeks to institutionalize the data roll-over scheme – requiring internet service providers or ISPs to roll-over unused internet bandwidth of its clients, thereby ensuring that the internet data paid for by internet users can still be used with the extended validity.

Pineda said unused data allocation from internet data packages or promos will not expire but will instead carry over to succeeding months until the end of the year. If at the end of the year, there are still remaining unused data allocations, the same will be converted into rebates, which may be used for future subscriptions.

“With the adverse impact of the COVID19 virus globally, it should be noted that majority, if not our whole nation, has been dependent on online transactions and activities. Internet connection services, like electricity and water distribution, became a necessity,” he said.

Pineda noted that as a result of the surge in demand for internet , ISPs have to contend with numerous complaints of connection and internet speed issues and aftersale services.

A very vital issue that requires immediate solution is the common complaint of consumers who are not allowed to fully use data allocation they have paid for.

“Unused data allocation therefore becomes income to our ISPs, and we are not talking about small amount of money, but millions, if not billions of pesos.” Pineda lamented.

“The bill does not aim to punish our ISPs. Instead, the mechanism proposed by this bill will provide room for improvement – not only for speed, but for internet accessibility and reliability, for the benefit of our people. In fact, the roll-over data scheme has been implemented globally by international internet service providers.