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House OKs 2 telecoms bills

/ 07:24 AM November 24, 2017

Days after President Duterte swung open the door for a third major telecoms player to China, the House of Representatives passed two bills to improve phone and internet services through stiffer penalties for service providers that won’t allow interconnection or refuse to return excess fees paid by consumers.

Both bills were passed on final reading.

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The first, House Bill No. 6557, or the proposed Open Access in Data Transmission Act, outlaws refusal by a telecoms firm to allow interconnection with a rival company.

It carries a penalty of P300,000 to P5 million a day in fines for violators.

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The other bill, House Bill No. 6558, proposed to amend the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines by raising to P1 million per day the amount of fine that the National Telecommunications Commission should impose on telecoms firms that fail to return excess fees paid by users.

The Makabayan bloc voted against the bills, saying the proposed measures were watered down.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the bills fell short of giving the government “more active participation and control” of the telecoms industry.

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TAGS: duopoly, House, new player, telcos, telecoms
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