President Duterte has signed a new executive order expanding the provision of internet services through “inclusive access to satellite services.”
Under Executive Order 127, the President has allowed internet service providers (ISPs) to access the satellite systems to ensure the delivery of fast and reliable internet connectivity in the country.
Access to the internet, Duterte pointed out, has become a basic need for Filipinos.
To liberalize access to satellite technology to boost internet service, the President amended EO No. 467 issued in 1998 that provided the policy on the operation and use of international satellite telecommunications facilities and services in the country.
“In recent years, high-speed wired and wireless data networks providing interactive connection to the internet have emerged as powerful drivers of economic and social change such that access to the internet has become a basic household need for Filipinos,” EO 127 read.
“The government recognizes that universal access to fast and reliable services is vital in order for the country to join the ranks of developed economies due to the internet’s transformative impact on e-government and the delivery of basic services,” it said.
Stable internet connection is also crucial to the “elimination of red tape, freedom of information, disaster preparedness, public safety, readiness for climate change, education for all, and inclusive growth.”
Under the latest EO, the President introduced an amendment in Section 1 (a) on “inclusive access to satellite services.”
“Enfranchised telecommunication entities duly authorized by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and Value-Added Service (VAS) Providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) duly registered with the NTC shall be allowed direct access to all satellite systems, whether fixed or mobile, international or domestic, to build and operate broadband facilities to offer internet services,” the order read.
“Broadcast service providers may also be allowed to directly access satellite systems subject to NTC rules, regulations and authorizations,” it added.
Another amendment inserted by the President was Section 2 on “Access to Satellite-based Technology.”
“The NTC shall update its regulations and expedite its administrative processes to enable VAS providers and ISPs to directly access, utilize, own and operate facilities for internet access service using satellite technologies such as, but not limited to, Very Small Aperture Terminals, Broadband Global Area Network and other similar technologies, for all segments of the broadband network,” the order read.
“It is understood, however, that VAS providers and ISPs shall comply with existing policies and requirements concerning the registration of VAS and ISP offerings and submission of their schedule of rates,” it added.
The President has directed the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to regularly review the responsiveness of the latest policy and submit recommendations to his office.
The review will be implemented in consultation with concerned agencies and sectors. He said the DICT, though the NTC, must pursue policies to secure necessary orbital slots for Philippine satellites.
Under Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, ISPs are allowed to “acquire and utilize internet connectivity directly from satellites and other emerging technologies to ensure universal coverage, which when used to provide internet connectivity shall be considered value-added services.”
The latest EO, signed by the President on March 10, will take effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette or newspaper.
Rules and regulations on the implementation of the policy for inclusive access to satellite services must be issued within 30 days from issuance of the EO.
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