HEADLINES

Poe panel sets scrutiny of 3rd telco

The Senate committee on public services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe is calling a public hearing on Monday, October 22 to discuss the status of talks concerning the selection of a third major telecommunications service provider that is seen to break the duopoly in the telecommunications sector.

Poe set the “explanatory” hearing at 10 a.m. at the Senate Session Hall.

Poe said the Senate, in the exercise of its oversight functions, needs to be apprised of the developments surrounding the much-awaited entry of the country’s next telco player in anticipation of the reported award next month. She added her committee will play a major role in tackling the congressional franchise of the applicant.

“We need to have meaningful competition in public utilities like telecommunications that will translate to lower costs and better service,” Poe said in the light of reports that the Philippines ranks near the bottom in Internet speed globally and has one of the most expensive mobile and data rates.

The Executive, particularly the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and other related government agencies, is expected to brief senators about the issue.

Among the resource persons expected to provide a peek into the ongoing negotiations between the government and the private sector for the third telco include DICT Acting Sec. Eliseo Rio, Jr., NTC chair Gamaliel Cordoba, Securities and Exchange Commission chair Emilio Aquino, Philippine Competition Commission chair Arsenio Balisacan, Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Ernesto Pernia and Department of Science and Technology Sec. Fortunato Dela Peña.

Companies earlier named as interested parties that included NOW Corp., Converge ICT Solutions, and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp., among others, as well as major telco players Globe and PLDT are invited to the briefing.

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