The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) expresses its support to House Bill 8901 or the Open Access in Data Transmission Act, following its approval on second reading by the House of Representatives.

“The DICT supports any policies aimed at spurring the growth of information and communications technology in the country,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

“As the country transitions to the new normal, it is high time that we update our laws and policies to keep up with the digital times,” he added.

The proposed bill seeks to liberalize the industry. It specifically aims to lower barriers to market entry, fast-track and lower the cost of deploying broadband facilities, promote infrastructure sharing, and make spectrum management more fair and transparent.

The bill is expected to increase and promote fair and open competition in the industry, thus, fostering improvements in services in general. It specifically mandates interconnection among data transmission participants to avoid dominance by a single player or by a group of data providers. The bill also mandates that there should be at least two providers at any given layer.

In the proposed bill, the DICT, together with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), is mandated to promulgate policies, rules and regulation to ensure and promote infrastructure sharing and co-location.

Likewise, the NTC is mandated to maximize the utilization of radio spectrum resources by ensuring that spectrum is made available for the use of all registered data transmission industry participants. The agency is also tasked to require all data transmission industry participants and public telecommunication entities providing data transmission services to comply with the prescribed performance standards.

The NTC is also authorized to impose a fine of 300,000 pesos to 5 million pesos to those who fail to comply with the minimum service requirement, and also to remove from the registered data transmission industry participants those who fail to comply with the prescribed performance standards for three consecutive years.

The NTC is an attached agency of the DICT.