MANILA – Telecommunications firms (telcos) and internet service providers (ISPs) have been tasked to submit a plan detailing measures to ensure uninterrupted internet service in the country in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.

In a statement on Monday, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said these companies are required to submit a business continuity plan of measures that also includes addressing the increased demand for internet connectivity.

“The reports on the Business Continuity Plans are expected to be submitted to the Office of the Commissioner of the NTC on or before April 17, 2020 (Friday),” the NTC said.

The order, it said, boosts efforts at maintaining the operation of information and communications technology services and supporting infrastructures after the government extended the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon until the end of April.

“For the duration of the ECQ, telecommunications play a key role as many businesses shift from traditional operations to work-from-home arrangements for health and safety concerns,” the NTC said.

The order came after the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) directed the NTC to monitor telcos and ISPs to ensure the provision of reliable services through sufficient bandwidth allocation.

“These measures by the NTC and DICT also complement Republic Act 11469, otherwise known as the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,’ which mandates the continued operation of telecommunications as a critical service during the ECQ,” the NTC said.

It added that the issuances and initiatives of the DICT and NTC, regarding the fight against the spread of Covid-19, were in line with the guidance and direction of President Rodrigo Duterte through the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Last week, DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Jr. lauded telcos and ISPs for their continued provision of reliable internet service and sufficient bandwidth for tools such as videoconferencing and file-sharing applications.

Despite the quarantine in Luzon and limited mobility in most parts of the country, he added that the department’s rollout of free wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) terminals in remote areas continues with some expected delays. (PNA)

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