Senator wants refund scheme for internet outages, disruptions

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2021 05:20 PM

ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - A senator on Tuesday filed a bill requiring internet service providers to "refund credit or adjust a customer's bill" in the event of disrupted services or outages.

Sen. Lito Lapid's Senate Bill No. 2092 seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines to ensure that telcos will reimburse their subscribers who "experienced a service outage or disruption for an aggregate period of 24 hours or more within a month."

"For an Internet-dependent, data-driven world where almost all aspects of our daily life rely on being 'online' and 'connected,' service outages, disruptions and interruptions cause discomfort, lost opportunities, or worse, lost profits and income," the senator said on the bill's explanatory note.

"The principle behind this measure is quite simple - that there is no unjust enrichment on the part of big businesses to the prejudice of consumers," he said.

The proposed refund "shall likewise be granted to customers subscribing to a service on a pre-paid basis," the bill read. 

"The refund credit or bill adjustment shall be automatically implemented without need of any action or request on the part of the affected customer," it said.

Lapid noted that Senate hearings and offices have also been affected by internet outages in recent months.

"Data from a website monitoring real-time status and outage information revealed that for a single day, reports of outages for certain Philippine internet service providers peaked to as high as 50 outages," he said.

In November, Converge ICT, the Senate's internet service provider, said "a power issue" resulted in an outage in its data center and all subscribers were affected.

The Philippines' mobile internet speed ranks 86th out of 140 countries according to Ookla’s 2021 Speedtest Global Index released earlier this month.

The Philippines' 25.77 Mbps in January - up from 22.5 Mbps in December - helped the country move 10 places up in the speedtest.

Average fixed broadband download speeds in the country also improved to 32.73 Mbps in January from 31.44 Mbps in December.

Last year, a House lawmaker filed a bill seeking to impose an annual P365 million fine against telcos that would fail to reach internet speed targets.

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