'Telcos should provide cheaper internet service'

Posted at 10/31/12 8:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. is urging telecommunications companies in the Philippines to partner with the government in providing low-cost Internet connections in the barangay level.

Magsaysay, the author of Republic Act 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Law, said in a roundtable discussion with editors and reporters of The STAR that giving Filipinos access to the Internet through Wi-Fi connections would support the country’s inclusive economic growth.

He pointed out that Filipinos with Internet access would improve their access to basic services and at the same time expand their livelihood and business opportunities.

“We urge the telecom companies in the country to assist and collaborate with the government in facilitating the needed structural support for an efficient, low-cost to Wi-Fi that will empower our people and strengthen our economy,” he stressed.

Wi-Fi refers to wireless local area network technology that allows an electronic device such as computers, laptops, mobile phones, and others to exchange data wirelessly over a computer network including high-speed internet connections.

Major telecom companies in the Philippines are undertaking multi-billion peso network upgrade and modernization to cope with the growing demand of subscribers particularly on services pertaining to internet connections.

Dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) recently completed its P67.1 billion network modernization project nationwide while Ayala-controlled Globe Telecom Inc. is scheduled to complete its $700 million network modernization and transformation project by the first quarter of next year.

Magsaysay, who is running again as senator under the Liberal Party in 2013, pointed out that easier and better access to the technology would also promote citizen participation and engagement in transparent governance and broad-based development.

“Wi-Fi connectivity will also enable our citizens from the grassroots to actively participate in promoting accountable governance in the national and local levels, supporting a bottom-up approach where the people are heard,” he explained.

Improving the livelihood of Filipinos through low-cost internet connections would help spur economic activities in the Philippines.

The Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has set a gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of between five percent and six percent this year.

The country’s GDP grew by 6.1 percent in the first half of the year on the back of recovering imports and higher government spending.