DICT wants higher fines vs. telcos that fail to deliver internet speed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20) — The Department of Information and Communication Technology wants to impose higher fines for telecommunication companies that fail to deliver their advertised internet speed.

During the Senate budget plenary debate on DICT's 2021 budget, it was revealed that service providers are only imposed a ₱200 fine for each day of violation.

This is based on the Public Service Act, which was enacted into law in 1936.

Senate Public Services Committee chair Grace Poe said no one would be afraid of this fine.

"Marami kasi sa kanilang mga telco, nag-aadvertise na ganito kabilis 'yong Internet speed pero hindi naman, because it actually fluctuates a lot," Poe said.

[Translation: A lot of telcos falsely advertise fast internet speed. But it actually fluctuates a lot.]

The DICT, through its budget sponsor Senator Panfilo Lacson, then recommended to increase the fine to ₱2 million per day to ensure telcos deliver on their promised internet speed.

"They are recommending na increase ito sa ₱2 million per day para talagang mag-deliver (They are recommending to increase it to ₱2 million per day for them to deliver)," Lacson said.

"So kailangan po natin i-amend ‘yung Public Service Act (We need to amend the Public Service Act) to increase the penalty to be incurred by those telcos that fail to deliver the allowable Internet speed," he added.

But for Senator Imee Marcos, the fine should be raised to ₱10 million a day.

"Nakakatawa naman talaga kasi iyong ₱200 a day. Senator Poe wants ₱2 million a day. Ako nga ₱10 million a day. Ang yayaman ng public utilities. Pinagtatawanan tayo and they go scot-free for all violations," Marcos said.

[Translation: The fine of ₱200 a day is silly. Senator Poe wants a ₱2 million a day, I want to make it ₱10 million a day. The public utilities are wealthy. We are being laughed at.]

Lacson said based on DICT's data, the average internet speed for fixed broadband is 26Mbps and 16Mbps for mobile.

"Which we don’t believe, because more often than not, especially when we’re moving, hindi nga tayo umaabot ng 5Mbps. Minsan nasa mga 3 or 4 lang tayo," Lacson pointed out.

[Translation: We don’t even reach 5Mbps. Sometimes, we're only at 3 or 4.]