Poe tells Dito telco: Include unserved areas in coverage


    THIRD telco Dito Telecommunity Corp. should also provide internet services to unserved and underserved areas in the country and not concentrate mainly in the National Capital Region to show it is deserving of a franchise renewal, Sen. Grace Poe said yesterday.

    Poe, chairwoman of the Senate public services committee, noted that Dito rolled out its services mainly in Metro Manila instead of reaching out to underserved and underserved barangays in the country.

    She said part of Dito’s commitment is to cover 37 percent of the population with 27 mbps internet speed during its first year of operation.

    “By strategically fulfilling its commitment to meet the said number of barangays mostly in the NCR area where it’s the easiest way to go about it, Dito is literally giving us the bare minimum of what it committed to do,” Poe said.

    Poe said the implementation of the commitments that Dito made to the government will serve as a basis of the renewal of its franchise, which will expire in 2023. The commitments include a minimum 27 mbps internet connection speed on its first year and which should cover 37 percent of the population. Dito also assured the government it will provide a minimum 55 mbps internet speed in 84 percent of the population in its fifth year of operation.

    “So, after they show that they are able to honor their commitments and provide for all of those, then that will be a basis for us to determine if they’re really eligible for another 25 years,” she said.

    “Dito actually did a test run and said they were able to cover thousands of barangays, so we would actually want to go to one of those barangays and see if there’s been a marked improvement in their connection. We can always see the numbers, but unless you’re actually the end user and experience how it performs, you can’t really vouch for it,” added Poe.

    At the Senate hearing last Monday, senators raised concerns on Dito’s partnership with China Telecoms, especially on account of China’s law requiring all its subjects to report to the Chinese government any information it asks of them.

    Sen. Francis Pangilinan had asked Poe to call for an executive session with the defense department to discuss the national security concerns surrounding Dito’s business links with China Telecom.