VietNamNet Bridge – Internet service providers have complained that the new regulations on the minimum distance of Internet agents do not help minimize the ill effects of online games to students as expected. Meanwhile, their turnover has been decreasing dramatically.
Number of Internet agents plunges
| "Online game streets" will no longer exist if the new regulations are applied |
In 2010, the Hanoi People’s Committee released the Decision No. 15 stipulating that Internet agents must be located in the places which are 200 meters far from schools at minimum. After two years of implementing the regulation, the number of Internet agents that sign contracts with FPT Telecom has decreased from several thousands agents to less than 300. This also spells that the turnover from the customers has decreased significantly.
According to the Hanoi Information and Communication Department, over the last two years, ISPs in Hanoi have been asked to cut the Internet transmission to 550 Internet agents located near schools.
CMC TI has also reported that its revenue has decreased sharply because it has to spend money to install new cable and allocate technicians for new agents.
However, Hanoi authorities have decided that 200 meters is not far enough; planning to require Internet sale agents to be 500 meters far from schools. The tentative regulation has raised big worries among service providers.
FPT Telecom admitted that the requirement on a minimum distance between Internet agents and schools is necessary, because online games have caused a lot of social problems and they need to be put under strict control. However, it thinks that a stricter requirement would be unnecessary.
“200 meters is a distance long enough to make it more difficult for students to access Internet agents,” a representative of FPT Telecom said.
“The required 500 meter distance would not only reduce the number of Internet agents more sharply, but also affect the business of households,” he added.
Observers have predicted that if the proposal is approved by the local authorities, in the context of the thick school density, it may happen that there will be no Internet agent within two kilometers around schools.
Also according to FPT Telecom, distance would not be the decisive factor which can help eliminate social evils. In fact, the traffic from network operators to game providers such as VTC, VNG or FPT Online has not decreased at all. Meanwhile, the turnover of game distributors has been increasing steadily. Despite the relocation of Internet agents, people still can play games in any places where there are computers with Internet connection.
Sharing the same view with FPT Telecom, CMC TI’s representative has also said, that the regulation on the location of Internet agents would not be enough to minimize the ill influences of online games. Internet agents would try to dodge the laws.
“It would be better for the watchdog agencies to prohibit game providers to provide online games in the evening, or control Internet agents with software instead of the administrative orders, or the regulation on the area and distance,” the representative said.
Besides, the regulation that the agents must have the area of 50 square meters at minimum, and reserve at least one meter for every computer. This means that Internet agents will have to spend big investment money, which may be unaffordable to many of them. As such, the regulation, together with the requirement in the distance, would make Internet service providers loose more customers.
Ha, the owner of the games shop at No. 48 Ta Quang Buu said that very few agents can meet the requirements, because they have to minimize the business premises rents, while 0.7-0.8 square meters would be enough for one computer.