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Digital age na kasi: Cong. Binay wants high-speed Internet access to be declared as a basic service

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Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. is urging the Philippine government to follow in the footsteps of Canada in declaring high-speed Internet access as a basic telecommunications service.

“Our sense is, the quickest way to provide all Filipinos, especially those in the countryside, high-speed Internet access is for us to do what the Canadians did,” Campos said.

Campos was referring to the Canadian government’s move to proclaim broadband or high-speed Internet access a basic service, putting it in the same category as the landline telephone.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) also ordered all telecommunications players to offer consumers in all parts of Canada Internet connection speeds of at least 50 Mbps.

To ensure that rural districts are not left behind, the CRTC also required telecommunications firms to contribute around one-half of one percent of all their revenues to a fund that would subsidize the rollout of broadband facilities in unserved areas.

“High-speed Internet access has become essential for every Filipino family to enjoy a superior quality of life, and for small businesses to succeed,” Campos said.

Campos’ remarks came shortly after reports that the Duterte administration’s initiative to bring in a third telecommunications player has been delayed anew, with officials still unable to agree on how it should be carried out.

The administration is counting on the new player to rev up market competition and improve broadband services.

Campos has been prodding Congress to pass House Bill 5337, which seeks to tag broadband a basic service so that all Filipinos may have access to rising Internet connection speeds in the years ahead.