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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau



20 November 2020 06:38:03 PM

The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology chaired by Rep. Victor Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) on Friday approved the amended Substitute Bill on “Faster Internet Services Act” which provides for minimum standards for internet services in the country. The bill substituted House Bill 38 authored by Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon, HB 312 by Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, HB 4132 by Rep. Virgilio Lacson, and HB 4367 by Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto. In an online meeting presided over by Vice Chairman Rep. Francisco “Kiko” Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental), the committee reviewed and amended the bill, which was crafted by a technical working group headed by Biazon, prior to its approval. The bill declares that in recognition of the significant role of the internet in the information age, the State ensures that internet users and subscribers be accorded the best quality and reliability of internet connection service provided by the accredited internet service providers in the country. Within one year from the effectivity of the Act, the bill mandates the National Telecommunications Commission to require all ISPs to only advertise and offer internet service download speeds that they can consistently provide and work towards providing an average internet connection speed above global average. Public Telecommunications Entity (PTE) and ISPs would deliver 80 percent of advertised broadband speed to their subscribers at 80 percent service reliability or 80 percent of the time. The minimum broadband download speed delivered to subscribers would not be lower than 10 Mbps in metropolitan and highly urbanized cities, 5 Mbps in all other cities, and 2 Mbps in rural cities within a two-year compliance period for fixed and mobile internet connectivity across the country. Moreover, PTEs and ISPs that would expand coverage and offer internet services in “greenfield service areas” or previously unserved and underserved areas, as identified by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), would not be subjected to the minimum download speed for the next five years. The bill mandates the NTC, in coordination with the DICT, to develop a set of criteria and methodology for the measurement and publication of internet quality of service (QOS) parameters, such as download speed, upload speed, packet loss, jittery, latency, and service availability after public consultation and hearings within six months from the effectivity of the Act. The NTC would also impose penalties upon entities who do not comply with internet service standards provided in the Act and as prescribed by the NTC. The committee approved Salceda’s proposal to remove the anti-competition provision in the bill which provides that “ISPs shall not build international carrier, inter-exchange, local exchange, and mobile radio telephone networks reserved for PTEs, as provided for in Republic Act No. 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Policy Act.” It also adopted Salceda’s proposal to include a “Truth in Published Rates and Speed” provision in the bill.