Senator Win Gatchalian encouraged more internet service providers to have direct access to satellite technology to prompt competition and eventually bring down the cost of internet connection in the country.
“Limited use and low demand may make satellite broadband in the country expensive but in the long run, it can lower the cost as long as more demand will be created,” the Vice Chairperson of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee said.
In Gatchalian’s proposed Satellite-Based Technologies for Internet Connectivity Act of 2021, value-added service (VAS) providers and internet service providers (ISPs) may directly access, utilize, own, and operate facilities for internet access service using satellite technologies without the need of a franchise and provisional authority (PA) or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
“Dito sa batas na inihain ko, hindi na kailangang kumuha ng franchise kaya mas madaling makahikayat ng mga pribadong kumpanya at mga dayuhang mamumuhunan na pumasok sa industriya para mapalawak ang merkado “ said Gatchalian.
The proposed bill aims to bolster Executive Order (EO) No. 127 s. 2021 which amended EO No. 467 allowing telcos, VAS providers, and ISPs registered with the NTC to have direct access to all satellite systems in offering internet services. Gatchalian said the EO also does not provide for clear provisions on foreign ownership requirements for VAS providers and ISPs.
As internet usage in the country increased following the outbreak of the COVID-19 and sudden shift to work-from-home scheme and distance learning setup, household expenses increased due to additional cost brought by longer use of the internet.
A Social Weather Station (SWS) survey released last March 5 said that 86% of Filipino families with household members enrolled in online distance learning spend an average of P901 per month as additional expenses for internet connection. In a separate survey published in December 2020 by price comparison service cable.co.uk, it says that Filipinos spend an average of $53.71 or less than three thousand pesos per month for internet connection.
“Ang naturang panukalang batas ay magiging sagot rin sa pangangailangan ng mga wala o hirap ang access sa internet sa bansa,” said Gatchalian.