A BILL THAT seeks to require telecommunication companies and internet service providers (ISP) to create a refund mechanism for service interruptions was approved on third and final reading at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

During a plenary session, 278 congressmen approved House Bill 9021 or the Refund for Internet and Telecommunications Services Outages and Disruptions bill.

“Stable internet is tantamount to a basic human right nowadays given its many applications that make life easier,” House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement. “And since this is a paid service, getting a refund for service failure is only just.”

The bill requires telecommunication entities and ISPs to refund the amount of service disruption of at least 24 hours a month.

The refund won’t apply if the interruption is due to scheduled maintenance, which should be announced two days earlier. This should not exceed two days a month.

The refund must be automatically applied to the monthly bill of a customer, who may still file a complaint for a bill adjustment. Violators will be fined as much as P200,000 by the National Telecommunications Commission.

The license of a service provider who repeatedly violates the proposed law may be canceled or revoked, according to the bill. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz