Beholden to oligarchs?

"We cannot overemphasize the importance of mobile phone use and internet access in our daily activities, especially at a critical time like this."


President Rodrigo Duterte has given Ayala’s Globe Telecom and Manny V. Pangilinan’s Smart Communications until December to improve their services. He warned them of government takeover as he did concerning the onerous water utility contracts.  

Manong Digong wants better signals and faster telephone services as a Christmas gift to the Filipino people.

If poor telephone signals and slow internet were taken into consideration, the recent SWS survey would have drawn responses indicating more than 36 percent of Filipinos who expect to experience a rather “low quality of life” in the next 12 months.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of mobile phone use and internet access in our daily activities, especially at a critical time like this.

In fairness to PLDT, its subsidiary Smart provides better mobile phone services and online connectivity, drawing millions of Globe subscribers to switch over the past five years.

Globe’s weak signal literally represents how little the telecommunications giant provides in terms of service to its customers even as it rakes in an unimaginable amount of profits.

Unfortunately for me, I am a long-time subscriber (under contract) of Globe, so I cannot just switch to Smart, unless I’m willing to incur the huge penalties of cancellation.

I’m taken hostage by Globe, just like the millions of Filipinos it exploits, cheats and shortchanges in its onerous contract.

We’re at the mercy of these oligarchs.  Niluluto sa sariling mantika.

People are asking what the Department of Information, Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) have done to upgrade internet connection, as well as phone services, in the country.

The Philippines ranked 101st among 179 countries in terms of fixed-line internet speed in 2019.

The country’s average speed of 19.51 Mbps was much slower than the global average of 57.91 Mbps.

Some of our Asian neighbors have the fastest internet in the world, including Taiwan, no. 1; Singapore, no. 2; Japan, 6th; Hong Kong, 19th; South Korea, 42nd; and Thailand, 45th.

How would the online classes of 28 million students who go back to school in October effectively shift to blended learning with this snail-paced internet connection that the telecom companies provide?

On behalf of millions of distraught Globe subscribers, I have sought the officials of the DICT and the NTC as overseer and regulatory entities to resolve the issues of poor telecom services.

NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarrios promised to summon the big-shot executives of both Globe and Smart to a meeting to address customers' complaints.

But after weeks of waiting, it appears the NTC would rather leave it to Manong Digong to act on this matter.  

The DICT and NTC cannot escape the public’s condemnation, as they have failed to fulfill their mandates.

I can’t blame one infuriated Globe subscriber who called during my tele-radyo program and said, “Natutulog sa pansitan yang mga nasa DICT at NTC!”

The NTC under Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba has been remiss in fulfilling its mandate under RA 7925 “to regulate and supervise the provision of telecommunications services.”

Ironically, the NTC’s Vision states, “By 2025, the NTC is a world-class regulatory agency meeting the challenges of the digital world.”

It’s very clear now that NTC’s work is, by design, as slow as realizing its stated Vision. Unfortunately, the nation under the current circumstances can no longer stand another five years of NTC’s incompetence!

There has not been even one byte of improvement in the internet speed since the appointment of former Senator Gringo Honasan as DICT secretary a year ago.

This only makes DICT and NTC officials appear as though they were beholden to telecom oligarchs.

Topics: Erwin Tulfo , President Rodrigo Duterte has given Ayala , Globe Telecom , Manny V. Pangilinan , Smart Communications , Department of Information , Communications Technology , DICT , National Telecommunication Commission , NTC
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