Saturday, January 8, 2011

ISPs To Insist On Capping Broadband Usage

Internet service providers (ISPs) will participate in the scheduled public hearing regarding the final draft of an order meant to address growing consumer complaints on slow broadband speed where they will insist for a provision that will allow them to set a maximum volume of data that users can download in a day. The public hearing is scheduled by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM. All interested parties are invited to attend the public hearing which will be held at the NTC Executive Conference Room, 3rd Floor NTC Building, BIR Road, Diliman, Quezon City.

John V. Rojo, Vice-President for corporate brand and communications of BAYANTEL (Bayan Telecommunications, Inc.) informed that their company will join the scheduled public consultation and that they would like to be assured that in the fair use policy where ISPs will also be protected from abusive use of the service.

For his part, Ramon R. Isberto, Public Affairs Head of Smart Communications Inc. , said that the ISPs have already submitted position papers to NTC. “We will just wait for the final draft of the memorandum order. We will follow whatever the decision is,” he said.

NTC started working on the draft of the memorandum order in September last year. The draft memorandum order (MO) has undergone several revisions since then as the agency continues to receive inputs from the public and the ISPs according to the recent press release by NTC. The agency added that the latest modification in the proposed draft provided the ISPs'  setting of the maximum volume of data allowed per subscriber or user per day.

Further, NTC said the latest modification was suggested by the ISPs to prevent network abuse by “unscrupulous” subscribers who violate intellectual property laws by downloading movies and software illegally. ISPs likened this to “abusive” subscribers' use of unlimited call or text promotions by the cellular phone companies.

The current unlimited broadband subscriptions cause some consumers to use broadband services for voluminous commercial undertakings and these types of network abuse limit accessibility to a few instead of providing adequate access for all of the subscribers according to the regulatory agency. NTC advises commercial or high volume users to avail themselves of other Internet connection packages which have committed higher speeds and allow heavy data exchanges. Under the draft MO, NTC wants ISPs to specify their minimum broadband connection speeds and service reliability, as well as service rates in advertisements, flyers, brochures and service and legal agreements.

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