PH beholden to private digital highways: Lozada

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 21 2015 03:58 PM | Updated as of Aug 21 2015 11:58 PM

MANILA - ZTE deal whistleblower Engr. Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada believes the government should push for a national broadband network project to improve internet speed in the country.

Speaking to radio dzMM, Lozada said that the lack of a national broadband network results to the country’s dependence on privately-owned digital highways whose internet services rank among the world’s priciest and slowest internet connections.

Lozada likened the Philippine internet infrastructure to a network of roads where a toll fee is demanded by telecommunication companies at every turn, thus slowing data transmission and piling charges.

"Halimbawa, lahat ng kalsadang dadaanan po ninyo pauwi sa bahay ninyo, papasok sa eskwela, trabaho o kaya sa inyong lugar na pagnenegosyohan--isipin po ninyo kung ang lahat ng kalsada na iyan ay pribado at bawat gumawa ng pribadong kalsadang 'yan, pagtawid mo ng isang bayan, sisingil ng toll fee sa'yo," Lozada said.

"Kaya nga po ang internet natin ang isa sa pinakamabagal at pinakamahal, kasi bawat tawid niya, bayad ka."

The engineer also stressed that although the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) pushes for policies to better the country’s internet service, it does not have the authority to regulate charges implemented by the private digital highways.

"'Yung tinatawag na last mile (of the connection), papunta roon sa bahay ninyo o sa mga telepono ninyo, pribado po 'yan. Tapos 'yan naman pong tinatawag na backbone niyan, o 'yung transport niya papunta sa internet, pribado rin 'yun," Lozada said.

"Pati naman 'yung mga kokonekta sa internet exchanges, pribado po yan. Kaya mahirap, hindi nakakapagdikta ang gobyerno. Ang pribadong sektor po ang nagdidikta kung anong gusto nilang ganitong presyo, kung gusto nilang tanggalin. Walang magawa ang gobyerno."

Lozada also believes that faster internet speed will allow the country to keep up with the digital economy wherein products and services are exchanged through the internet.

The whistleblower added that the past administration was able to realize the potential of the NBN project which was scrapped because of alleged anomalies.

Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and husband Mike Arroyo were accused of having stood to gain from the $329-million deal with China’s ZTE Corporation