Senator Grace Poe reminded the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on the commitments of Dito Telecommunity (formerly Mislatel), the country’s third mobile player, to improve internet speed and coverage in the country in the next five years.

During plenary deliberations of the proposed 2020 DICT budget, Poe said Dito will face penalties if it fails to comply with its commitment under the franchise agreement.

On its first year, which will end on July 8, 2020, Dito is obliged to cover at least 37 percent of the population, with an average minimum internet speed of 27 megabits per second (mbps).

Over a five-year period, it promised to cover 84 percent of the country and offer internet speed of at least 55 mbps.

“Not one cell site has been completed by Dito.”

On Poe’s questioning, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the agency budget sponsor, said not one cell site has been completed by Dito.

“‘Yun ang medyo nakakatakot kasi, by July 2020, dapat meron na silang 2,500 cell sites,” Poe, chairperson of the committee on public services, said.

“In two months, they can put them up.”

Lacson replied, saying, “I understand these are all prefab, so mabilis lang po ito. In two months, they can put them up.”

The lady senator noted that under the franchise agreement, “for every non-compliance, there are penalties.”

“If they are not able to fully deliver on their commitment, there are penalties,” she added.

Lacson said that Dito’s commitment is backed up by a performance security amounting to P25.7 billion for the first year; P10.7 billion for the second year; P8 billion for the third year; P5.3 billion for the fourth year; and P2.7 billion for the fifth year.

Lacson added Dito is given a six-month grace period to comply with the requirements.

Poe said the public will look forward to the completion of the new cell sites, hoping this will improve telecommunications services for the Filipinos.

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