P365 million annual fine sought on telcos failing to reach internet speed targets

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 27 2020 02:10 PM | Updated as of Dec 27 2020 02:34 PM

P365 million annual fine sought on telcos failing to reach internet speed targets 1
A cellular site tower in Caloocan City on Aug. 06, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - As the Philippines ranked among countries with slow internet connection, a lawmaker on Sunday sought a P365 million annual fine for telcos that fail to reach mandatory internet speed targets.

The Philippines ranked 110 in mobile and 103rd in fixed broadband internet speed as of November, according to the Speedtest Global Index.

Under House Bill 7479, filed by Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., the National Telecommunications Commission may impose a P1 million per day or P365 million per year fine on telecoms that are found to "have violated, violating, or those which have failed or are failing... to comply with any order decision or regulation of the commission."

“Filipinos deserve faster Internet speeds, which have been associated with higher economic productivity, stronger jobs creation and greater quality of life,” Campos said in a statement.

“We want the NTC to set faster Internet speed targets every year, and then penalize the service providers that fail to deliver."

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier threatened he would "close" all telecommunication providers and "expropriate" if their services won't improve by end of the year. 

The NTC said early this month that internet speeds in the Philippines improved by as much as 262.7 percent in 2020, but continues to lag behind regional peers.

As of November 2020, fixed broadband speeds in the country rose to 28.69 mbps, 262.70 percent higher than the 7.91 mbps in July 2016, National Telecommunications Commission chief Gamaliel Cordoba said in a Senate hearing.

Mobile internet speed in the Philippines also improved to 18.49 mbps in November 2020, a 148.52 percent jump from the country's 7.44 mbps 4 years ago, he said.

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines' internet speed is only about a tenth of regional leader Singapore's 229.42 mbps speed for fixed broadband, and 64 mbps speed for mobile connection.

Internet use in the country surged this year as most Filipinos were forced to work and study at home following travel and mass gathering restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.

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- with reports from Gillan Ropero and Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News