SBN-68: Expanding the Coverage and Strengthening the Powers of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
An Act Expanding The Coverage And Strengthening The Powers Of The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 7925 Otherwise Known As The Public Telecommunications Act Of The Philippines
- This bill expands NTC’s power and coverage in regulating the industry. It details the Commission’s mandate of ensuring quality, safety, reliability, security, and protects consumer inter-operability of telecommunications facilities and services, and protects consumer welfare by fostering an open, transparent and level-playing field in communications and media.
- A new section on Quality of Service (QoS) is included to serve as the common reference of acceptable levels of quality for the regulator, service providers and the consumers.
- In this bill, the NTC is mandated to review and approve the interconnection of telecommunications and internet service providers, such as, but not limited to Internet Protocol (IP) peering, sharing of infrastructure and access facilities. It ensures the promotion and support to various modalities of interconnecting telecommunications and the Internet.
- Some telecommunication segments do not directly provide services to consumers such as the international gateway facilities, mobile cellular towers, and fiber optic cable providers, whose clients are the telcos and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). As such, they can be established and operated by entities that do not necessarily require legislative franchises or be considered a public utility. This bill provides that the power to award a franchise can be transferred from Congress to the NTC in such cases.
- Value-Added Service is now defined in this bill as “services that are over and above the core service of a telecommunications segment and that are not core services of other telecommunications segments.” Hence, data services and networks should be separated from the core service of telecommunications entities. With the reclassification of the Internet out of the VAS, the NTC can now have a wider latitude in setting minimum standards and parameters for pricing just like the other basic telecommunication services.
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