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      Issue No. 15 March 2000   

Telephone metering like economic sabotage says consumer group

As time passes, telephone metering becomes more obsolete and more harmful to the economy than ever, according to consumer rights group Philippine League for Democratic Telecommunications, Inc.

"The Philippines is already being left far behind in ecommerce," Amador said. "In this context, metering is practically economic sabotage. It sacrifices the good of the people to satisfy the wants of a few rich companies."

The League was reacting to reports that the NTC and DOTC were considering how to deal with the highly controversial telephone metering scheme being pushed by telephone giant PLDT. Widespread public opposition and the information campaigns of consumer and internet groups have thus far delayed implementation of the extremely unpopular measure.

The League noted that in Europe telephone metering has been identified as one of the main factors preventing Europeans from reaping the full benefits of the Internet. For example, Andreas Schmidt, AOL Europe head, recently said that cheaper phone access to the Internet could help create as many as 400,000 jobs in Germany. Schmidt said these jobs would be realized almost immediately if Germany would lower its telephone rates, which are typically billed on a per-minute basis.

Germany, which has recently introduced flat-rate internet access, has experienced organized protests against metering and high internet access costs along with France, Spain, and other European countries. Last June, protesters in the Philippines joined in an "internet strike" along with protest movements in twelve European nations.

"Just think of the benefits we stand to lose when metering makes the internet unaffordable" said Emmanuel Amador, President of the League. "Metering will hamper the growth of internet usage and delay the adoption of ecommerce. That's the last thing we need."

Press contact:
	Emmanuel Amador
	Philippine League for Democratic
	Telecommunications, Inc.

Legal offices:
	Domingo & Dizon Law Office
	Unit 15-B LPL Center
	130 L.P.  Leviste St.
	Salcedo Village, Makati City 1280
	Tels.: +63(2) 813-3459 
               +63(2) 813-3497
               +63(2) 813-3518
	Fax  : +63(2) 812-7997 

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