NTC urged to crack whip on telcos

October 21, 2018

CAMARINES Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte yesterday asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)  to crack the whip on private telecommunications companies (telcos) to prompt them to further improve their Internet services.

Villafuerte said this is a way to remove hitches in the imminent implementation of  flexible work arrangements under a would-be telecommuting law allowing employees do their jobs at home.

He added that more reliable Internet speeds and connectivity alone will spell the success of the soon-to-be-enacted telecommuting law that will not only allow Filipino workers to adopt flexible work arrangements but also help the government  ease the worsening traffic in Metro Manila and other urban centers.

“More than telling private telcos to shape up, the NTC should also carry out measures to further bring down the costs of  internet service in the country to encourage more employers to adopt the flexi-work arrangement if and when feasible,”  said Villafuerte, principal  author of the House of Representatives’ version of   the proposed Telecommuting Act.

Villafuerte said internet speeds of up to 100 mbps are now possible under current plans offered by private firms, but these remain too expensive  and are limited to certain areas across the country.

“Our problem is not how to speed up internet connections but how to make them more affordable and accessible to more people. How can the government effectively implement a telecommuting law if employees who want to work from home cannot do so—even if they want to—because they live in underserved areas where network connection is limited? How can we encourage employers to adopt telecommuting if they find it too expensive to shoulder the mobile data expenses of their employees?” Villafuerte stressed.

Villafuerte said  even the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) no less has conceded that the weak information technology and electronic infrastructure could pose an obstacle to work-from-home arrangements under the proposed telecommuting law.