MANILA (Mabuhay) – A bill has been filed at the Senate seeking to require telecommunications companies to provide faster Internet connections in the country.
In Senate Bill 2238, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto proposed that the government impose a minimum Internet connection speed of 10 Mbps (megabits per second) on local telecommunications firms and Internet service providers (ISPs).
“The national march towards a broader internet or Wi-Fi access should be in cadence with a decent internet speed. Aanhin mo ang Wi-Fi kung puro ka naman antay?” Recto said in a statement Wednesday.
ISPs and telecommunications companies that fail to provide this minimum Internet connection speed should be slapped with a fine of up to P2 million, Recto’s bill proposed.
During a Senate hearing, Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said this proposal is “necessary and feasible.”
“Right now, it [Internet connection service] is considered a value added service. It is subject to contractual obligations, meaning if you pay this much, you will be given this much speed,” the NTC official said during the hearing.
He added that Congress should also consider passing a bill that will make Internet connection a “basic service” in the country, so that the government will have the mandate to regulate Internet speed and costs.
Justice Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy, for his part, said it is within the “state’s sovereign function” to provide minimum standards for Internet connection in the Philippines.
According to a study by US-based Internet platform Akama Technologies, the Philippines had an average peak Internet connection speed of 32.6Mbps by the end of 2013.
The same study however said that Filipino Internet users still experience slow connection speeds due to low use of broadband technology in the Philippines.
Last month, an infographic posted online also showed how the Philippines lagged behind its other Asian neighbors in terms of Internet speed.
A study based on World Bank statistics collated last year also found out that the Philippines is behind roughly two-thirds of the world in terms of average Internet broadband download speed. (MNS)