Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NTC issues circular putting minimum speed on broadband service

In what could be one of its most important issuances yet, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has formally released a new circular that orders Internet broadband providers to specify a minimum speed in their service offerings.

The memorandum order, which the powerful regulatory body formally issued on Monday, compels broadband service providers to specify the minimum Internet connection speed and service reliability, as well as service rates in their advertisements and service level agreements.

The circular said that the acceptable minimum service reliability is 80 percent.

“The service offers shall specify the service rates for a minimum broadband/Internet connection speed and the service reliability. For example: a broadband service provider can offer P900.00/month for 512Kbps minimum connection speed and 80 percent service reliability, or P1,000.00/month for 512Kbps minimum connection speed and 85 percent service reliability, or P1,000/month for 1Mbps minimum connection speed and 80 percent reliability, etc.” the circular explained.

The NTC said it issued the circular to correct the practice of service providers who are specifying only the maximum speed in their broadband offerings.

The agency also said a minimum speed was necessary since various broadband wireless technologies differ in transmission characteristics, with mobile Internet access being the most vulnerable in signal fading more than fixed and fixed wireless Internet access.

The NTC order warned that failure on the part of a broadband service provider to comply is a ground for the filing of an administrative case.

The circular is expected to take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

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