Lawmakers seek probe of telcos data cap

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Monday, May 5, 2014

MILITANT lawmakers are urging the House committee on information and communication technology to conduct an investigation into the data service caps of internet service providers (ISPs) and telecommunications groups.

Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate also said that several consumers have been complaining of slow and unreliable services from the telecommunications firms and ISPs.

Colmenares said that the flashy and expensive advertisements of these companies are reportedly "hoodwinked" internet subscribers by glossing over and failing to inform the consuming public about the actual speed of their internet services, which is usually slower than advertised.


"For example, burstible speeds" of up to 2 mbps is said to be almost nonexistent, yet this is being highlighted in their promotional materials," the party-list lawmaker said.

He noted that telcos and ISPs have resorted to limiting volume data over their network through a data cap that limits consumers from enjoining full use of their internet connection.

The lawmaker cited the Globe Telecom as an example, wherein it offers an unlimited one-day internet for its prepaid mobile broadband, yet allegedly imposes a one gigabyte (GB) maximum on accessed data without pre-informing their subscribers.

He said the subscribers will just be surprised later upon receiving a text message informing them their internet connection was already downgraded from LTE/4G/3G to just 2G with an equivalent speed can be compared to a dial-up connection.

Colmenares said that Smart Telecommunications, on the other hand, states a limit of 1.5GB data cap per month in their fair use policy (FUP) but is currently not being enforced as of the moment.

Colmenares said that the advertising of unlimited internet services and at the same time subjecting it to a very prohibitive FUP in the fine print is misleading the consumers.

"Telcos and ISPs should have advertised their services with their corresponding data caps upfront," he said.

Zarate meantime cited a report by Akamai, an Internet content delivery network, which shows that average internet speed in the Philippines is around 1,428Kbps or 1.4Mbps, ranking only at 114, which is one of the slowest average internet connections in the world.

Zarate said that with internet has become an integral part of the daily lives of many Filipinos "it now plays a crucial role in many aspects of society, from media and information, entertainment, education, governance and the economy."

The two militant lawmakers said Congress should ensure the accessibility and quality of the country's internet services and to look into ways of improving such services. (Sunnex)

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