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"We expect great new things."

 

Congratulations first to an old friend and UP schoolmate, newly-appointed Supreme Court associate justice Rosmari Carandang, who makes the big jump from the Court of Appeals where she was first appointed in 2003 by former President Arroyo.

The new justice was reportedly salutatorian in the same UP Law class headed by valedictorian and repeated CJ nominee, senior associate justice Antonio Carpio.

Some of her opinions on record would not displease the yellow camp, e.g. Congress should have convened to discuss martial law in Mindanao; detained Senator Enrile was not entitled to bail under the Rules of Court; there were no “moral grounds” to allow the late President Marcos’ hero’s burial.

Evidently, Justice Carandang is still marked by the experiences I share with her from the “parliament of the streets” decades ago. We can only hope this will clear the way for her through the yellow attack dogs in the Senate.

On the other hand, the man whose seat she’s taking, newly-appointed Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin—another PGMA appointee, to the SC itself in 2009—has adopted the opposite side from Carandang on all of the issues above. Expect a somewhat rougher time for him in the confirmation process.

Fortunately, CJ Bersamin was the most senior of the three men on the JBC’s final nominee list, having served in the judiciary for over 30 years (compared to Carpio who spent most of his professional life as a practicing lawyer).

Not surprisingly, the yellows who’re carping over Carpio’s seniority—in the High Court alone—are the same guys who were gushing not too long ago over PNoy’s appointment to the top seat of Meilou Sereno, the newest of the newbies, so raw that you could practically see the wetness dripping from behind her ears.

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One percolating issue that may well make it to the Supreme Court is the Executive recommendation to authorize the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to shut down social media sites that are “inimical to national interest.”

The recommendation, from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), has already won support from Senators Ping Lacson, public order committee chair, and Greg Honasan, national defense committee chair and, after he leaves the Senate, the new DICT head.

Lacson and other experts have cited countries like Australia and India as precedents for this kind of online regulation, with today’s terrorist networks globally linked over the Internet, as well as the increasing dangers posed by cybercrime.

In fact, Honasan even wondered aloud if the proscribed behavior could include “incomplete, inaccurate and malicious” information coming from media. That might be too tall an order, although there’s nothing to prevent Congress from, say, requiring “balanced reporting” by media companies—especially on terrorism, whether jihadist or leftist in variety—in order to obtain or renew their media franchises.

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As and when he settles into his new job at the helm of DICT, one of Honasan’s biggest—and more benign—jobs will be to oversee the rollout of the telecom industry’s infrastructure expansion, in order to keep up with international quality standards as well as the local market’s growing appetites.

A big nod to the efforts already being undertaken by industry incumbent PLDT/Smart is a recent report by mobile analytics company OpenSignal that the quality of video experience in our country is already comparable to that of the United States.

For the first time this month, OpenSignal tracked the performance of telecom carriers in Asia, culled from its State of Mobile Video Report. Included in its video quality analysis were telecom carriers in Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines.

OpenSignal’s reports are based on real-time measurements gathered from mobile devices located in-country. It runs automated tests randomly to get a glimpse of how actual users are experiencing their mobile network service.

It came as no surprise that Singapore leads Asia’s telcos in video quality—specifically, M1 with a mean score of 68.57. FarEasTone and Chunghwa, both of Taiwan, took the next two places. Singtel from Singapore was number four, while Australia’s Vodafone rounded out the top five.

Where was the Philippines? Sadly, not (yet?) among the top 10. But based entirely on the mean score of 42.21 posted by Smart, our country might have ranked among the region’s top 15. Unfortunately, after including Globe’s video quality score of 29.22, we ended up posting a much lower combined mean score of 34.98.

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Compared to the United States alone, it’s worth noting that Smart’s video streaming quality was at par with US telecom carriers AT&T and Sprint, and not too far behind the experience provided by other US carriers T-Mobile and Verizon to their subscribers.

Smart’s advantage is said to derive from PLDT’s fiber footprint, which extends over 221,000 kilometers, the most extensive in the country today. The company has been re-equipping its cell sites with low-frequency and high-frequency bands, taking advantage of advanced technologies that improve coverage, capacity and speeds. Better known as 4G, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced coverage simply means greater capacity and speeds when using LTE-compatible smartphones.

This advanced bandwidth experience, with download speeds of 200 MBPS or more, is delivered over 14,300 LTE base stations spread across the country. By the end of this year, PLDT will have spent the P58 billion it had earmarked for its 2018 network expansion.

This kind of expansion greatly assists government’s stated objective to bring high-speed mobile data to more than 90 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities. With a third telco soon to join the fray, backed by Chinese resources, we expect great new things for the country’s telco consumers.

Readers can write me at [email protected]

Topics: Court of Appeals , Supreme Court , Antonio Carpio , Lucas Bersamin , Department of Information and Communication Technology
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