A party-list group yesterday sought a congressional investigation into the charges that telecommunication firms have been charging their subscribers despite poor signal and slow internet connection.
AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, president of the Party List Coalition (PLC), said his group filed House Resolution No. 400 titled “A Resolution Calling for an Investigation on the Charges Imposed by Mobile Service Providers on Mobile Internet Use.”
“The Philippines currently ranks 21st out of 22 Asian countries in internet speed and seventh slowest in terms of speed of LTE or long-term evolution,” said Batocabe.
“As far as Pinoy pride goes, slow mobile internet speeds are not something to be proud of and we should look into the root causes of the subpar mobile internet services we definitely do not deserve,” he added.
Batocabe pointed to the rankings published by internet metrics provider Ookla in 2015, where the Philippines had internet speeds just better than Afghanistan in Asia.
He said OpenSignal, a UK-based company specializing in wireless coverage mapping, revealed that the standard 6Mbps connection in the Philippines is way below the average 13 Mbps standard worldwide.
“If there’s anything internet-related the Philippines is on the top of, it’s the list of the countries where mobile internet connection is most expensive, and there is something very wrong when you pay a premium for inadequate results,” said Batocabe. “We need a legislative investigation on charges imposed by the existing telecommunications companies to allow us to legislate for measures that will give Filipinos the mobile internet speeds they pay for.”
The lawmaker said there are only two major telecommunications companies providing mobile internet services in the Philippines and they now both employ a “fair use policy,” which slows down a subscriber’s internet connection even more once they reach a certain cap in data usage.
Subscriptions can range from P1,000 to tens of thousands, depending on the plan and usage, he said.
“With the establishment of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, we are hoping the study can provide guidance to Rodolfo Salalima’s leadership,” said AKO Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin.
“The United Nations Human Rights Council has recently passed a resolution condemning unequivocally measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online, and we want our government to do its best to allow the flow of information online, especially in a digitally-reliant society we have evolved into,” he said.