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More legal changes are needed to improve internet access in PH: PCCI

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has reaffirmed its appeal for the country to implement additional legislative reforms in order to improve internet services.

The Better Internet Act, the Rural Wired Connectivity Development Act, the Spectrum Management Act, and the Satellite-Based Technologies Promotion Act, among others, can help improve the quality of internet connections in the nation, according to PCCI President George Barcelon in a webinar on Tuesday.

We can finally remove the legislative impediments and antiquated internet regulations that prevent the nation from keeping up with its Asean neighbors in the field of ICT (information and communications technology) through these key changes, the official said.

According to Ookla, the Philippines’ current broadband speed is 50.26 megabits per second (Mbps), which is 14 times higher than the 3.6 Mbps speed from eight years ago.

Following the Duterte administration’s “common tower” policy, the Philippines moved up 36 spots to 72nd place in just five months from 108th in terms of the world’s broadband speed in July 2020.

Information and communications technology (ICT) service providers can utilize the same recently constructed telecommunication facilities thanks to the common tower policy.

Barcelon continued by saying that the emergence of competition forced businesses to enhance their offerings and provide competitive pricing.

Indeed, he remarked, “These improvements demonstrate that we can go beyond ‘excellent internet,’ particularly in light of the fact that 53 percent of Filipinos, 52 percent of public schools, and 57 percent of families remain without internet access.” We cannot continue in this manner or we will inevitably fall behind.

According to Barcelona, loosening the regulations by doing away with the need for a congressional franchise for data transmission services will spur greater investment in the telecommunications sector, thus enhancing the nation’s “excellent” internet speeds.

He continued, “It is regrettable that the Philippines continues to be the only nation in the world that still requires a legislative franchise to provide data transmission service in this digital age.

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