Senate panel eyes more power for NTC

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THE Senate committee on economic affairs wants the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to have more power to carry out its mandate to go after erring telecommunication companies.

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Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the committee, said the NTC, the agency in charge of regulating and supervising public telecommunications services, needs more power to impose penalties against telecommunication companies that fail to deliver satisfactory services to consumers.

The grant of additional power will be included in the committee report to be submitted by Gatchalian following the investigation held by the panel on the operation and regulation of the telecommunications industry.

The Senate hearing was called to determine if the government has ample regulatory mechanisms to make the playing field even.

“Telecommunications is a public utility, and just like other public utilities, it has to be regulated to make sure that the playing field is even, to make sure that customers are getting the value that they are paying for,” Gatchalian said.

The committee learned during the hearing that the NTC has had difficulties in imposing drastic penalties against Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications Inc. for their failure to provide satisfactory service to subscribers.

NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios told senators that they have failed to compel Globe and Smart to deliver the minimum speed of 12 megabytes per second (mbps) in Internet connectivity.

The two companies have claimed in their advertisements that they can provide that kind of Internet speed.
Gatchalian noted that because of limitations in the law, the NTC cannot do anything to force Globe and Smart to deliver what they promised to their subscribers.

He added that for such transgressions, the two companies are only required to pay a penalty of P200 per day.

“The NTC needs more teeth to better regulate the telecoms industry. I will make sure that it gets the same powers like the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission),” Gatchalian said.

The ERC regulates the energy sector. It has extensive powers, including quasi-judicial powers, to control and penalize erring power companies.

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2 Comments

  1. sana totoo na. walang hiya yang mga telcos na yan. they are charging several times more than the rates of other countries and delivering the worst – way below the 12mbps minimum stated here; swerte na ang 2mbps. P200 a day. what a joke.

  2. to make sure that customers are getting the value that they are paying for
    ——————————————

    If that is the case then the customers should have the best internet in Asia since they are paying more than anyone else. The Philippine government sets the minimum Internet speed at 256 kilobits per second. But tech groups say this is hardly a broadband experience.

    “Surfing websites today at 256 kbps is similar to surfing on dial-up in the 90s with slow loading pages, content, and images – hardly a broadband experience,”

    The Philippines is way behind its neighbors in Asia in Internet speed, where some of the fastest Internet speed in the world are found. Singapore, for example, has an average Internet download speed of 133.1 mbps compared to the Philippines’ miserable 3.7 mbps.

    Philippines Globe P1,099 for maximum speed of 2 mbps
    Singapore Singtel P1,644 for maximum speed of 300 mbps

    Exactly how is the NTC going to make sure people are getting the value they are paying for ?

    Just another bs promise from the government.