MANILA — Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid has filed Senate Bill (S.B.) No. 1876, which aims to promote open access in data transmission and provide additional powers to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to encourage the construction and development of reliable, affordable, open, and accessible data networks that transmit information at speed and quality comparable to the best in the world.
Lapid’s proposed bill seeks to ensure fair competition and promote consumer welfare by allowing other telecommunication companies to access existing facilities, infrastructure, and networks owned and operated by dominant market players. This would provide consumers with more options and lower prices for data transmission services, while also encouraging the development of new technologies and services.
In filing S.B. No. 1876, the senator emphasized the importance of promoting open access in data transmission, saying that “the high cost yet low-quality internet connectivity necessitates the country to pursue legislative reforms to achieve inclusively and accelerated digital connectivity,” adding that competition is essential for innovation and progress, and consumers deserve better and more affordable data transmission services.
“Itong ating inihaing panukalang batas ay napakahalaga sa pagtugon sa tinatawag na ‘digital divide’ at naghihikayat sa pagbuo ng isang data transmission infrastructure at pag-alis ng anumang hadlang sa kompetisyon sa mga serbisyo ng data transmission, at kalaunan ay inaasahang magtataguyod ng inclusive growth sa bansa,” Lapid added.
Lapid’s proposed measure, to be known as the “Open Access in Data Transmission Act”, also seeks to provide the NTC with additional powers to regulate and oversee the telecommunications industry. This would include the authority to investigate and penalize companies that engage in anti-competitive behavior, as well as the power to mandate service quality standards and other consumer protection measures.
Lapid believes that promoting open access in data transmission is crucial in building a more connected and inclusive Philippines, where all Filipinos have access to affordable and reliable telecommunications services.
“Umaasa na ang panukalang batas na ito ay makakatanggap ng suporta mula sa aking mga kasamahan sa Senado at tuluyan nang maging batas. Naniniwala po ako na ang pagtataguyod ng bukas na akses sa paghahatid ng impormasyon at data ay napakahalaga sa pagbuo ng isang mas konektado at inklusibong Pilipinas, kung saan ang lahat ng Pilipino ay may akses sa abot-kaya at maaasahang mga serbisyo ng telekomunikasyon,” Lapid said.