Developer, ISP charged with abuse of dominance

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    The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has filed a case against Greenfield Development Corp. and its wholly-owned Leopard Connectivity Business Solutions Inc. (Leopard) for limiting its residents to use its in-house exclusive internet service provider (ISP) and preventing entry of competitors in its Mandaluyong condominium development.

    In its statement of objections filed last December 2020, the PCC cited Greenfield for supplying exclusive fixed-line internet to the residential units of Twin Oaks Place (TOP) in Greenfield District.

    Greenfield is property developer of TOP and Leopard Connectivity manages the the Twin Oaks Place Fiber Network (TOPFN) that provides fixed-line internet in all Greenfield properties, including TOP.

    “As the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the PCC, the enforcement office alleged Greenfield and Leopard abused their dominance as TOP’s property developer and fixed-line internet provider by preventing the entry of other ISPs to provide their services to residents and limiting the market to Leopard as sole ISP, in violation of the Philippine Competition Act,” the PCC said.

    The PCC added that while TOP marketed itself as a smart home, the feature is not reliant on the services of Leopard as an ISP.

    “The automation features of TOP will still work even if a condominium unit is subscribed to another internet provider,” it said.

    “As more Filipinos shift to working and learning from home under the new normal, property developers competing for the market of digital connectivity should not resort to unduly foreclosing competition and restricting choices for consumers, but compete on fair terms.

    After all, the competition law does not prevent condominiums to offer their own ISPs, provided other options are made available to residents,” said Orlando Polinar, PCC enforcement director.

    The PCC said TOP residents complained to PCC investigators about having no access to an alternative ISP despite Leopard’s higher prices, slower speed, and unreliability of internet connection.