Improve internet quality, consumers' group tells gov't

Published November 2, 2021, 5:06 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

A consumers’ group is pressing Philippines authorities to focus on improving the internet quality in the country as the recently signed a law that allows users to transfer networks without changing mobile number does not seem relevant and is not widely commended by the public.

Professor Louie Montemar, convenor of Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada, Kuryente (BK3), said people may no longer be “interested in switching telecom providers because they now have many other options to communicate,” so “the government should instead focus on improving the country’s digital infrastructure so that the quality of internet connection will be seamless and uniform across the country.”

His observation stemmed from Telecommunications Connectivity, Inc.’s pronouncement that only around 0.001% or 1,000 out of more than 100 million subscribers transferred to new networks during the first month of the implementation of the Mobile Number Portability Act.

“Internet connection has become a right, given the volume of essential activities we now do online,” Montemar said, adding that what the government needs to do is to streamline bureaucratic processes so that gaps can be addressed and digital infrastructure investments and projects can proceed as planned.

“Instead of focusing on this new law that has come too late to offer substantial relief to mobile subscribers, the government must accelerate the country’s digital transformation and enable the people to be digitally ready,” he added.

Montemar believed the country “cannot survive” nor compete with the post-pandemic world “without respectable internet connectivity.”

He urged the country’s authorities to “be sharp enough to channel the government’s valuable time, energy and resources.”