THE members of the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) have called on the Senate to act on an open-access bill for data transmission, saying it would improve internet service quality.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the JFC said the Senate should begin deliberations on the proposed Open Access in Data Transmission Act when it resumes session on Jan. 23.

House Bill No. 6, the other chamber’s counterpart bill on the Open Data Transmission Act, was passed on third reading by the House of Representatives before it headed to recess in December.

“The bill aims to create the space that will allow and empower as many different service providers as possible to build and operate data networks and give more choices to broadband users anywhere in the country, especially in the countryside,” the JFC said.

“The proposed Open Access in Data Transmission Act is critical to establishing a forward-looking and future-ready digital policy framework for the Philippines,” it added.

Citing a position paper sent to the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, the JFC said that the bill will open the internet and data market and provide a competitive environment, which will benefit consumers.

The bill will also meet the need for fast, reliable, and affordable internet or data service.

“It lowers regulatory barriers and cost of entry for market players offering internet service, and promotes fair and open competition at different segments of the data transmission network. This will significantly improve data transmission services (faster internet speed and lower internet costs) throughout the country,” the JFC said.

According to the JFC, other bills related on Open Access are also pending with the Senate Science and Technology Committee chaired by Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano.

It added that the House approved an Open Access in Data Transmission bill on third reading in both the 17th and 18th Congresses, which both failed to obtain Senate approval.

“The members of the JFC expressed optimism that since the bill was approved early in the 19th Congress, the Senate will have enough time to deliberate and approve the measure, especially considering no less than the Senate President filed a counterpart to the Open Access bill filed by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Jr.,” the JFC said.

Signatories to the joint statement were the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave