Internet rate reductions not passed on – Ain

Responding to growing concerns in the print media, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) stated that the substantial price reductions for wholesale Internet broadband services are not being passed on to consumers.

ICCC Commissioner and CEO, Paulus Ain, said DataCo has significantly reduced wholesale Internet rates since 2018, which the ICCC says has not translated into retail-level price reductions during this period.

He said ICCC has notified the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) as the government agency responsible for the regulation and licensing of Information Communications Technology (ICT) in PNG.

“The ICCC recently signed an MoU with NICTA in September 2021 to work together on issues that arise, particularly among consumers in PNG.

“The ICCC will continue to work with NICTA and ask the ICT sector for answers as to why retail internet prices have remained broadly the same since 2018 despite major reductions in wholesale prices.”

He calls on relevant ISPs and retailers of broadband internet services in PNG to be good corporate citizens and not to engage in such practices, whereby significant savings through major cuts in wholesale prices are retained by these business entities to maximize their profits.

“The telecommunication sector in PNG has seen a gradual change in the industry with a number of Internet Service Providers (ISP) participating in the retail industry,” said Mr Ain.

“It has increased competitive pressure in the marketplace with consumers, government agencies/service providers and businesses in different parts of the country, whether in remote areas and urban centers they now have better internet access than they did some 20 years ago to a variety of services offered. by these respective ISPs.”

He said competition in the retail segment has allowed consumers to choose which service providers to use, depending on the type of services needed for their purposes and personal choice.

“The government has made significant investments through DataCo since 2014 to ensure that prices for broadband internet services in PNG are reduced so that consumers and businesses in PNG can take advantage of these price reductions,” he said.

“Such behavior by corporate entities to deter consumers from receiving the benefits of lower Internet prices by preserving these large cost savings and maximizing profits does not suit them and could force the government to consider stricter regulatory measures in the ICT sector.

“This is to ensure that these wholesale price reductions are passed on to consumers in retail and as end users of ICT services.”

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