Senate panel wants more power for NTC

 The NTC needs more teeth to better regulate the telecoms industry.

The Senate Committee on Economic Affairs led by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian eyes to provide the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) with more power to regulate and impose sanctions to poor performing telecommunication companies.

Senator Gatchalian noted that that while it is NTC's responsibility to assure that telecoms meet the minimum performance measures and that they are using the spectrum granted to them, limitations in the law prevent the NTC from forcing leading telco players -- Globe and Smart -- to deliver their seemingly overlooked promise of a fast and affordable connectivity service among subscribers. Senator Gatchalian therefore maintained that it is necessary to provide the NTC with more teeth to go after erring telecommunication companies and be able create effective regulatory mechanisms to make the playing field even. Senator Gatchalian also pointed out that the existing Globe-Smart duopoly is a barrier to market competition that prevents consumers from enjoying satisfactory services. The Senator said real competition will benefit consumers.

The Committee announced that it will not hold any more meetings on the matter, and will soon draft a report expected to be completed before the Smart franchise renewal on or before March 20, 2017.