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NTC mulls setting minimum internet speed requirement for service providers

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Wednesday said it is planning to set a minimum internet speed for telcos in the Philippines as various sectors become increasingly reliant on online transactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a Senate hearing, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios was asked by Senator Grace Poe on the current minimum internet speed being required from service providers.

"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 in response.

"The problem your honor, they offer say maximum speed of 10 Mbps [megabits per second] n but the minimum speed stated that they offer is 256 Kbps [kilobits per second], so the gap is very wide. So we're thinking of coming up with rules setting [a certain] percentage of the maximum speed [as the required minimum]," he added.

According to Cabarios, the average internet speed in the country, based on Ookla speedtest, was 22 Mbps for fixed broadband.

"The average in the ASEAN region is 59 Mbps so talagang malayo ang gap natin sa kanila," Poe said in response.

Last year, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto filed Senate Bill No. 471 or the proposed "Bilis Konek Act" requiring internet providers to deliver a minimum standard for internet connection speed.

The same hearing attended by the NTC and various telcos was marred by "horrible" internet connection, prompting Poe to say that it was the worst "hybrid" committee hearing she attended. — BM, GMA News