Our hopes are focused on the third telecommunications company with enough competition for the current duopoly to provide better services and prices. But that probably won’t happen anytime soon.
On the one hand, the Mislatel consortium – which includes China Telecom – could even lose the right to be the third telco. Apparently, Mislatel violated a number of provisions of his franchise to make it invalid.
According to DICT, Mislatel / China Telecom is still in the second round of verification of its compliance with the tendering rules. Having a valid deductible is one of those requirements.
If it is determined that Mislatel / China Telecom does not have a valid franchise, DICT has no choice but to have another round of betting. Since lawyers and courts are involved, the process will take a bit of time.
But there is another way for us to get faster broadband without the third phone company. Congress must pass this pending bill calling for open access in data transmission.
The Open Access Bill, according to analyst Grace Mirandilla Santos, is an important piece of legislation that aims to reduce barriers to entry for data service providers, reduce inefficiencies in network deployment and introduce some aspects of spectrum management reform.
According to Grace, if passed, the open access bill would introduce a regulatory framework that would encourage competition, mandate interconnection of networks, promote infrastructure sharing and bring the country into the digital age.
The bill was approved by the House of Representatives in November 2017 and has been awaiting second reading in the Senate since March 2018. Senator Bam Aquino has regularly placed the open access bill on the agenda of the Senate since May 2018.
But two senators have indicated their intention to challenge: Senator Cynthia Villar and Senator Ralph Recto. Senator Villar has already withdrawn his intention. Since September 2018, Senator Recto must challenge, but did not do so.
Senators should have a certain sense of urgency. There are only a few days left before the 17th Congress takes another break and the campaign period begins.
If the Senate does not act, the bill will have to go through the whole process again when the new Congress meets in June. It will be a shame because so much work has already been done and this is something we badly need.
Senator Recto should simply continue his questioning because time is running out. As Grace says, “The Senate should not miss this opportunity to introduce groundbreaking law that will unleash the potential of the Filipino Internet.”
Why is this Open Access bill important? Quite simply because it will cut off the exclusive right of telecom operators, among others, to access the satellites that connect us to the world via the Internet.
If Facebook or Google provide free Internet access to the world, under our current law, only telecom operators can receive from their satellites. If we open up the system, you will have many more value-added service providers ready to compete vigorously for the benefit of subscribers.
Setting up a telco involves a huge amount of serious money for capital. Smaller players don’t want to be telecom operators, but only want to provide specific broadband services to specific customers in specific locations. After all, a phone as contemplated by current laws is too analog, a thing of the past.
The bill’s policy statement says it all. Among other things, it aims to reduce the digital divide by encouraging the development of data transmission infrastructures and by removing any obstacle to competition in data transmission services.
The open access bill also seeks to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem where those who wish to engage in the data transmission industry can compete openly and freely in a spirit of fair competition and innovation without authorization.
It also wishes to “protect and promote the Internet as an open platform enabling consumer choice, freedom of expression, end-user control, competition and the freedom to innovate without authorization, and thus encourage the development of advanced telecommunications capabilities and removal of barriers. investments in infrastructure.
It sounds like a good reform bill. Since we are not likely to take advantage of the competition offered by the third telephone company anytime soon, our only real hope for civilized broadband service is the passage of this bill.
I just want to share part of an article by UP economics professor amon Clarete on rice pricing.
âLet’s check the data. Once the President enacts rice pricing, we should expect private sector importers to import rice from ASEAN member states, especially Vietnam or Thailand, as import tariffs and the freight cost is the lowest. The tariff on rice imported from ASEAN would increase the price that our country’s rice consumers pay by 35 percent. This is called the implicit tariff (TI).
âIf the implicit tariff is fully passed on to farmers, an IT of 35% will translate into a Nominal Protection Rate (NPR) of 35%. But under the current trade restrictions implemented by the NFA, this is not the case. In 2017, for example, only 23% of potential protection passed through to farmers, i.e. about three-quarters of what consumers pay above the free trade price for rice. do not go to rice farmers. Instead, it goes to rice traders and the inefficiencies of the national rice marketing system.
âRice consumers in Metro Manila in 2017 paid an average 41% more than the landed price for rice freely imported from Vietnam or Thailand. But our rice farmers sold their rice only 9 percent above that free trade price. The difference, 32 percent, went to rice traders, millers, or was simply lost due to market inefficiencies in the rice value chain.
“NFA and trade restrictions, especially in rice distribution,” displace private transport, storage and handling, making marketing less competitive and less efficient. ”
âA compelling argument why President Duterte should enact this bill is that it thus initiates the process of substantially reducing inefficiencies and collusion in the rice market system which, for nearly half a century, impoverished rice farmers. Farmers fare better as they benefit more from the trade protection provided by law against rice traders colluding with corrupt NFA agents.
Boo Chanco’s email address is [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco