Ain: Retail internet rates still high

Business

PRICE reductions in internet broadband services at the wholesale level are not being passed onto the consumers, according to the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC).
A statement said the telecommunication sector had seen a gradual change with a number of internet service providers (ISP) participating on the retail end of the industry.
This has enhanced competitive pressure in the market.
It said consumers, government offices/service providers and business houses in remote areas and urban centres now had a better internet access compared to 20 years ago because of a variety of services offered by ISPs.
Competition in the retail segment allow consumers to choose which service providers to use depending on the type of service they require.
Commissioner and chief executive officer Paulus Ain said PNG DataCo Ltd (DataCo), since its establishment in 2014 as the wholesaler of broadband internet services, had made substantial investments in the national transmission network through satellites, terrestrial and submarine fibre optic cables.
“Since 2018, DataCo has been reducing wholesale internet rates with a recent price reduction by 66 per cent in its metro fibre service, which came into effect on Nov 15, 2021,” Ain said.
The ICCC is concerned that these substantial reductions in wholesale internet broadband rates have not been translated into corresponding reductions in retail broadband internet services.
The ICCC wrote to the major ISPs last year raising the concerns and seeking an explanation.
It also questioned why the reduction in wholesale prices were not being passed down to the people.
“DataCo has made substantial reductions in wholesale internet rates since 2018, which has not translated into price reductions at the retail level during that period,” it said.
The ICCC also wrote to the National Information and Communications Technology Authority as the agency responsible for the regulation and licensing of information communications technology.

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