Several senators have filed a bill seeking to set a minimum standard for internet speed in various parts of the Philippines to ensure better connectivity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 1831 or the proposed “Better Internet Act,” authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Grace Poe, and Manny Pacquiao sets the following minimum download speed that must be delivered by public telecommunications entities and internet service providers to their subscribers:
- 10 Megabits per second (Mbps) for fixed broadband and 5 Mbps for mobile broadband in highly urbanized cities;
- 5 Mbps for fixed broadband and 3 Mbps for mobile broadband services in all other cities; and
- 3 Mbps for fixed broadband and 2 Mbps for mobile broadband services in rural areas.
Providers must be able to comply with these threshold speeds within three years from the proposed measure’s effectivity date.
To protect the consumers, the bill also prohibits telcos and internet service providers from advertising internet service speeds that they cannot consistently provide.
Entities who will not comply with the internet service standards would face a penalty of a fine not less than P200,000 but not more than P2 million for each count of violation.
If a service provider has a gross annual income not exceeding P10 million, the penalty shall be equivalent to one percent to two percent (2%) of its gross annual income.
The company’s provisional authority, certificate of public convenience and necessity, or registration may be revoked in case of repeated violations.
Also among the bill’s key provisions is the expansion of internet coverage to unserved and underserved areas in the Philippines within three years from the proposed law’s effectivity.
During a Senate inquiry in July, National Telecommunications Commission Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios admitted that the agency currently does not prescribe a minimum internet speed which service providers must meet.
“We do not have prescribed minimum speed, your honor. What we have is we allow them to state the maximum speed and [we] monitor the maximum speed that they are offering and we have rules on how to measure this speed,” Cabarios said.
On Wednesday, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said the country’s average 3 to 7 Mbps internet speed is not that bad even though other countries already have it at around 55 Mbps. —LBG, GMA News
This article Senate bill seeks standard for Philippine internet speed was originally published in GMA News Online.