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Monday, December 15, 2014

Dept. of Justice Warns Telcos on Internet Services

 The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday warned telecommunications companies (telcos) against imposing data throttling on consumers who avail of unlimited internet packages, which according to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima is punishable under the provisions of the Consumer Act of the Philippines. In a nine-page advisory, Sec. De Lima has also called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to monitor and penalize telcos who will impose the fair usage policy (FUP) on unlimited internet service.
FUP is being imposed by the companies to give end-users equal opportunities to access their services but heavy internet users who have exceeded their data limit are expected to experience slow internet connection.
In effect, the internet connection is throttled when usage reaches a certain volume of data bits, according to the DOJ.
De Lima added the imposition of FUP on unlimited internet service by the local internet service providers can be regarded as a form of misleading or unfair business practice.
She pointed out that it is tantamount to charging subscribers with unlimited data service for a consumable package.
“This case is an effective break of promise, a form of misrepresentation; the internet promo is packaged as unlimited in the first place,” De Lima said.
De Lima pointed out that under the provisions of Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, imposing data throttling is considered as a form of misleading or unfair business practice and is punishable with a fine of not more than P10,000 or imprisonment of at least five months to one year or both.
The Justice Secretary also stressed that non-compliance with the requisites of fair packaging can also be criminally penalized by a fine of not more than P20,000 or imprisonment of not more than two years.
With data throttling, according to the DOJ, “unli” data promo becomes inconsistent with their presentations of its packaging, hence, unfair and misleading.
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