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PCC probes internet exclusive in property developments

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has set up a task force to look into cases of residents being limited to avail of internet service from an exclusive provider in property developments.

More than a year after the PCC’s first abuse of dominance case involving an exclusive internet deal in a condominium that limited residents’ choice on an internet service provider, PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan said the antitrust body has been receiving various complaints and queries on similar cases.

“Due to the number of such complaints we have received and cognizant of the importance of internet services amid the pandemic, we set up a task force that will look into similar cases,” he said.

In 2019, the PCC slapped a P27.11-million fine against Urban Deca Homes Manila Condominium Corp. and parent firm 8990 Holdings Inc. for requiring unit owners and tenants to subscribe to an ISP and preventing them from availing service from other players.

Last February, the PCC filed a case against condominium developer Greenfield Development Corp. for allegedly barring the entry of other ISPs in Twin Oaks Place in Mandaluyong and limiting residents to the use of services of its in-house provider.

Balisacan said PCC is also currently investigating a subdivision owner for a similar complaint.

He said the growing awareness of the PCC and the Philippine Competition Act has helped the antitrust body put a stop to some cases of abuse of dominance.

The Philippine Competition Act prohibits abuse of dominant position by entities that engage in conduct that would substantially prevent or lessen competition.

Balisacan said this may take place when dominant companies charge unreasonably discriminatory prices to consumers and competitors or set unfair trading conditions to suppliers and distributors.

Entities found to have abused its dominance in the market could be imposed a fine of up to P110 million.

“We have always asserted that competition is an important lever that the government should exploit in its pursuit of inclusive development. Fair competition pushes businesses to come up with innovative and better-quality products and services at competitive prices. It therefore benefits the public, especially the poor,” Balisacan said.

Article and Photo originally posted by PhilStar Global last July 19, 2021 12:00am and written by Louella Desiderio.