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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        13 January 2011

Philippines drops telecoms data cap

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Due to consumer opposition, the Philippines National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has dropped a plan to limit the volume of data that an Internet broadband user can download. Jaime Fortes, NTC deputy commissioner told reporters that the regulator deleted the "controversial provision" of the Memorandum Order on the Minimum Speed of Broadband Connections.

Fortes was referring to Section 5, which states that the service providers may set the maximum volume of data allowed per subscriber a day.

"The cap has been deleted," Fortes said, adding that a ceiling on the daily broadband use is not "pro-consumer."

Earlier, users of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as consumer group TXTPower denounced the regulator's proposal to limit the daily usage of Internet broadband subscribers.

The original order included no provision on limiting broadband use.

The regulator only included at the behest of the Philippine Chambers of Telecommunications Operators (PCTO), which pointed to the abuse of networks.

According to PCTO about five to seven percent of users hog 80 percent of the available bandwidth leaving only 20 percent of the capacity to be shared by 93 percent to 95 percent of users.

The PCTO also opposed the disclosure of the minimum speed of their broadband services.

In a statement, Paolo Arceo, NTC spokesman said the order was drafted primarily to make Internet service offerings more transparent to the consumer and to address service reliability and speed issues.

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