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The speaker seeks data transfer industry transparency.

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In order to ensure fair competition and transparency in the expanding data transmission industry, Speaker Martin Romualdez stressed the necessity of establishing a strong and independent regulatory structure and body on Monday.

Romualdez made the proclamation when the House of Representatives passed House Bill 6, also known as the planned Open Access in Data Transmission Act, on its third and final reading with 243 yes votes, 0 no votes, and 3 abstentions.

The proposal, according to Romualdez, will provide the groundwork for a framework that will establish guidelines and standards to encourage the creation of trustworthy, affordable, open, and accessible data networks that transport data at a rate and caliber “equal to the best in the world.”

The bill, according to Romualdez, “proposes to establish a strong and independent regulatory system and body to create an environment within the data transmission industry that is conducive to open, fair, and competition that is driven by innovation and shall encourage investments in the development of the country’s digital infrastructure.”

To prevent monopolization by a single player or by a group of data providers, the law shall mandate interconnection among data transmission participants.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) shall have the responsibility to ensure that spectrum is made available for use by all registered data transmission industry participants in order to maximize the utilization of radio spectrum resources in the allocation and assignment of such finite resources in the transmission of data.

Additionally, the NTC shall be required to enforce sanctions for noncompliance with the specified performance criteria on all players in the data transmission business including Public Telecommunications Entities (PTEs) offering data transmission services.

By requiring that there be at least two substantial providers at every given tier, the proposed measure also promotes fair competition.

All participants in the data transmission industry must register with the NTC, and anyone operating an international cable landing station must get a legal franchise.

Any participant in the data transmission business who fails to substantially comply with the minimum service requirement would be subject to a fine ranging from PHP300,000 to PHP5,000,000 for each day of infringement, as per the established performance criteria.

The aforementioned entity shall also be removed, subject to the due procedure, from the registry of registered data transmission industry players and shall not be permitted to provide data transmission services if it fails to meet the required performance standards for three years in a row.

The bill outlaws vertical ownership, throttles, paid priority, and refusal to plug and play.

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