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Letters to the Editor

NTC inutile in face of telcos’ failings

/ 01:39 AM January 21, 2017

For decades, telco customers have been suffering from bad to nonexistent signals in Metro Manila. In our neck of the woods alone (Loyola Heights, Quezon City), there is practically no signal, not only inside our house but also in most all neighboring houses. We have to go out in the streets to acquire a few bars and put our cell phones to any use. And when it rains, tough luck! Inserting Globe, Smart, Sun, PLDT cards in as many dual-SIM gadgets as one can get hold of does not help.

What is the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) doing about this “Third World” state of the country’s technology? Nothing. I once filed a complaint there for poor postpaid cell phone service. I ended up so flummoxed by the usual rigmarole I couldn’t help thinking it was utterly pointless to pursue it.

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The telcos are so well-entrenched in that miserable excuse for a regulatory agency they run circles around customers who dare to complain, thanks to NTC officials who couldn’t care less. Not only was I just frittering away time—and patience from going around its premises looking for a spot to park every time a “hearing” was set—it was sickening to see so much boondoggling in that agency.

Internet service in this country is laughable compared to the high speed experienced by our Asian neighbors.  Would anyone believe Vietnam (a country blown to smithereens by war in the 1960s while our country was already enjoying peace) has been having so much progress it can now boast of 17 mbps (megabytes per second), while we are stuck with the ridiculous average of 3 mbps? But never mind the internet—it seems that business is just too hard for NTC to handle, hiding behind “deregulation” under Republic Act No. 7925 as its “reason” for being helpless about our snail-paced internet speed.

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Let’s just talk for the nonce about cell phone connections. Why couldn’t the NTC itself conduct its own monitoring of the performance of those telcos and impose severe sanctions for noncompliance with the terms and conditions of their franchises?  Lack of manpower and resources are the constant refrain—just more excuses ad nauseam.  Why does that irrelevant, if not totally inutile, agency continue to exist at all?

On their part, the telco owners are raking it in by the billions of pesos without making good their promise to “upgrade” their facilities and capacities. This is already an egregious breach of contract actionable in court. But then again, they know only too well that suits for damages could last forever in this country—at much expense to the plaintiffs (the hapless customers) in terms of court filing/docket fees and without any guarantee of success even if indubitable proof of the breach stares everyone in the face.

Didn’t Du30 promise to “kill oligarchs,” too?

STEPHEN L. MONSANTO, [email protected]

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TAGS: cell phones, Inquirer letters, internet service, National Telecommunications Commission, NTC, telcos
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