MANILA - Senator Bam Aquino on Tuesday sought an investigation into the slow and expensive internet service in the country.
Aquino, in a press statement, said the investigation should determine if consumers are getting their money's worth from the internet service given by local telecommunication companies.
He issued the call in response to a report that the Philippines is at the bottom of a list of countries in Southeast Asia in terms of Internet speeds.
According to ASEAN DNA, the Philippines (3.6 megabytes per second) lags behind Laos (4.0 Mbps), Indonesia (4.1 Mbps), Myanmar and Brunei (4.9 Mbps), Malaysia (5.5 Mbps) and Cambodia (5.7 Mbps).
Other countries mentioned in the report include Vietnam (13.1) and Thailand (17.7), the only two other Southeast Asian countries joining Singapore (61.0) as those above the ASEAN average of 12.4 Mbps.
Aquino said he wants to know why others in Southeast Asia enjoy faster Internet speeds at a cheaper price while internet in the Philippines is slow and costly.
“There are constant complaints about the provider’s failure to deliver on its promised connection speed, which usually leads to slow Internet link,” the senator said.
He did not say which government body should undertake the investigation -- the Senate, in aid of legislation; Congress, which controls telco franchises; the National Telecommunications Commission, which regulates telcos; or the Department of Trade and Industry, which is tasked to protect consumer rights.
Aquino said that on the average, consumers shell out around P1,000 a month for Internet service with speeds of up to 2 Mbps, while some telecommunication companies offering speed of up to 5 Mbps for around P2,000 a month.
“This is expensive compared to Singapore and Thailand where we can find some of the fastest Internet connections in the world,” Aquino said.
He said Singapore's Singtel offers 15 Mbps internet for SGD 36.90, or around P1,312 a month.
Thailand's True Internet, meanwhile, provides 12 Mbps for about 799 baht or P1,100.
“Do we always have to pay a steep price for slow and sometimes unreliable Internet connection? NTC should provide a logical and clear explanation on this,” Aquino said.
He said the investigation should look into ways on how to improve the country’s poor Internet connection, which be believes is crucial to the country's economic growth.