Industry

Property Developer Fined P27 Million for Imposing Partner ISP on Its Residents

The PCC says this is the first abuse of dominance case in the country.
IMAGE PIXABAY
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A unit of low-cost residential property developer Urban Deca Homes and its parent company 8990 Holdings Inc. has been fined by the Philippine Competition Commission for imposing a single Internet Service Provider (ISP) on its unit owners and tenants. 

Urban Deca Homes Manila Condominium Corporation was ordered to pay a fine of P27.11 million and comply with the terms and conditions of settlement.

According to the PCC, this marks the closure of the first abuse of dominance case in the country. Abuse of dominance is a violation of Section 15 of the Philippine Competition Act, which prohibits exploitative and exclusionary conduct that substantially lessens competition.

The case stemmed from Urban Deca Homes’ exclusive deal with the ISP called Fiber to Deca Homes in nine of its projects across the country. The deal meant that unit owners were left with no choice should they want to apply for an ISP. Residents also claimed that the Internet service of the in-house Fiber to Deca Homes was “slow, expensive, and unreliable.”

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After the PCC charged Urban Deca Homes with abuse of dominance in March this year, the respondents chose to submit a motion for settlement to correct their anticompetitive practices. The proposed terms were then subjected to public comments in early August before they were submitted to the PCC for final decision.

The PCC approved the terms of settlement, with modifications, which effectively breaks the exclusive deal between Urban Deca Homes and Fiber to Deca Homes. The respondents will also be monitored regularly for compliance and subjected to further fines and penalties for any breach.

According to the PCC, although the case started from complaints of residents in Urban Deca Manila in Tondo, the terms of settlement will apply to eight other Urban Deca projects in Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Bulacan, Cavite, Iloilo, and Cebu. 

“This is a landmark case for the PCC that successfully resolved to stop an anticompetitive practice, restore competition in the affected market, and set asexample to deter other businesses from employing similar exclusive dealings,” PCC chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

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“Competition—or lack of it—can be felt at home, at work, and in one’s daily activities. The residents may have chosen Urban Deca as their address, but the condo developer should not limit the choices of residents for other services,” he added.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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