ISPs Start Broadband Capping

While the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is still in-process of conducting public hearings on minimum broadband speed and without any law to prevent its adoption, Internet service providers (ISPs) have decided to invoke the “fair use” doctrine in imposing the broadband cap or data limit on the Internet subscription of their customers as a way to curb unrestrained use of just a few broadband users. Globe Telecoms Inc. (Globe) citing its fair use policy is the the latest ISP to announce the move to cap the Internet data volume that the company provides to its subscribers. San Miguel-owned Liberty Telecoms, which operates Wi-Tribe, has been offering WiMax services that have data limits while SkyBroadband, the broadband service unit of SkyCable, also recently rolled out a 5-Mbps Internet offering with 15-GB threshold.

The broadband cap remains a contentious issue in the industry with the ISPs urging the NTC to impose it as a formal regulatory rule. However, the agency has already announced that it will not include any provision on data capping on a circular it is currently drafting on the minimum broadband speed in the country. The various broadband consumer groups have expressed their opposition on the imposition of cap on broadband usage of a subscriber.

Be that as it may, more questions will arise as ISPs implement the broadband cap. Will capping assure the subscribers that they will now get the connection speed that they are paying for? How will we know that the broadband usage being charged to us are correctly metered? How about the rebate system for failure to deliver the promised speed consistently? As in any undertaking that affects the public, safeguards must be put in place before anything goes onstream. Will the broadband service of current ISPs really improve if the cap is implemented?

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