What is the Open Access in Data Transmission Act of the Philippines?

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Written by: Aiya Rodjel

Internet access is now considered a human right. After all, access to the internet plays a pivotal role in work, education, and everyone’s everyday lives. That’s why people spend a lot of money on a reliable internet service provider in the Philippines.

In recent years, there has been a dramatic improvement in internet speeds in the country. Fiber internet has increased in popularity, and more players are offering faster services. However, the Philippines still has a lot of room for improvement.

Experts agree that while faster internet speed is important, coverage is as equally essential as well. After all, it is challenging to work or study if you don’t get to maximize your internet access. That’s where the Open Access in Data Transmission act comes in.

What are data transmission services?

In order to appreciate the Data Transmission Bill, you need to understand what data transmission means. Also known as data communication, this is the transfer and reception of data in the form of a digital bitstream or a digitized analog signal. It enables the transfer and communication of devices in a point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and multipoint-to-multipoint environment.

Before, data transmission services were conducted over copper wire. However, internet service providers usually utilize a wireless network nowadays. Because digital services play a vital role across various industries, access to data means people will get to conduct their businesses in a more efficient manner. This means more Filipinos will get to work, study, or entertain themselves using fast internet access.

What does open access in data transmission mean for the country?

What the proposed Open Access Bill aims to do is to fast-track the growth of information and communications technology in the country. The bill plans to liberalize the data transmission industry. It specifically aims to lower barriers to market entry, fast-track and lower the cost of deploying broadband facilities, promote infrastructure sharing, and make spectrum management more fair and transparent.

Once the Open Access House Bill is passed, open and fair competition among data transmission industry participants will be encouraged and promoted. The law specifically mandates interconnection among data transmission participants to avoid dominance by a single player or by a group of data providers. This means that there will be no monopoly in the data transmission market.

Aside from prohibiting monopoly, what the bill will do is to encourage the entry and expansion of internet service providers across the nation. This means that fast internet will not be limited to key cities. It means that even rural areas will have access to different providers that could provide them fiber internet access.

By developing competitive digital infrastructure within the country, internet services will improve as well. Under the bill, the National Telecommunications Commission will be mandated to utilize radio spectrum resources by ensuring that spectrum is made available for the use of all registered data transmission industry participants.

The agency will also be tasked to require all data transmission industry participants and public telecommunication entities providing data transmission services to comply with the prescribed performance standards.

The NTC is also authorized to impose a fine of 300,000 pesos to 5 million pesos to those who fail to comply with the minimum service requirement. It will also be in the position to remove from the registered data transmission industry participants those who fail to comply with the prescribed performance standards for three consecutive years. This means players in the country will be held accountable for possible violations.

What is the status of the Open Access Bill?

Business groups and foreign chambers alike have expressed their support for the Data Transmission Bill. In fact, these groups encourage fast-tracking the law for the benefit of the country. This is because fair and open competition could possibly boost the industry, particularly foreign investment.

As of now, the bill has been approved by the House of Representatives on its third and final reading. It currently pending at the committee level in the Senate. However, the Senate has yet to expedite the passing of the bill.

Once the Senate does pass this bill, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will take effect immediately. The president still needs to sign the bill in order for it to officially become law.

Now that the country is slowly recovering after the economic damage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this bill could be a total game-changer. Once multinational companies’ regional headquarters find out that entry to the country is more accessible and affordable, they will consider investing in the country. This also encourages more local players to invest money into improving the industry.

Why is competition in the data transmission industry important?

Competition within any industry fosters improvement in services and performance. With more players in the country, a data transmission industry participant would be encouraged to take their services to the next level. The increase in competition would entail more affordable services, including fiber internet connection.

As one of the newest internet service providers in the Philippines, we at Streamtech Technologies fully support this bill. By lowering the barriers that prevent access to different areas of the country, we would have the opportunity to offer our services to more Filipinos.

From homes to businesses, we empower you with fast internet access. We have very affordable fiber services that will enable you to keep up with this digital age. Aside from fiber plans and services designed to suit your needs, we also provide access to your favorite television shows. Through our partnership with Planet Cable, you can subscribe to fiber internet and cable television under the same plan.

Plus, we offer bundles to take your home connection to greater heights. Our Extendifi WiFi Extender enables you to exceed your limits and experience the Streamtech difference wherever you are at home or at the office. Explore our plans today to know more. Visit our official Facebook page for more details.

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