Sen. Poe deplores poor PH internet connectivity

Published July 14, 2020, 3:07 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday expressed anew her concern over how the Philippines fares in terms of internet connectivity against other countries.

Senator Grace Poe (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Poe, in a statement on Tuesday, July 14, cited the Ookla’s June 2020 Speedtest Global Index report ranking the Philippines at 114th place on mobile connection speed, out of 138 countries, with a download speed of 16.17 megabits per second (Mbps) compared to the South Korea’s 110.10 Mbps which sits at number one.

She said it was “even worse” for fixed broadband, with an average speed of only 23.74 mbps, placing 108th out of 174 countries. Singapore, which ranked first, has an average internet download speed of 208.16 Mbps.

Poe also noted that of the current total of 73 million internet users in the Philippines, 30 percent have no access to the mobile internet, compared to the 12-percent average among ASEAN countries.

For fixed broadband, a “measly” four percent of Filipinos are able to subscribe to the service while the regional average stands at 10 percent,” she added.

“These numbers are really lamentable especially today when internet connection is crucial for Filipinos working from home or students who will be undergoing distance learning because of the pandemic,” said Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services.

She said this may be because many Filipinos still cannot afford the services provided by telecommunications companies in the country.

PLDT’s lowest fiber service plan of 10 mbps is priced at P1,299 monthly, while Globe offers 5 mbps at P999 per month while its highest plan of 200 mbps is priced at P4,449.

Converge ICT, meanwhile, has the cheapest plan at P1,500 for a top speed of 25 mbps, although it does not offer landline service that comes with the package unlike its competitors.

Poe again appealed to the telecommunication companies (telcos) and concerned government agencies and to get the country’s internet connectivity “at least on par with its regional neighbors at a lower cost.”

During the public services panel hearing last July 1, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Deputy Commission Edgardo Cabarios, agreed that the Philippines was lagging behind other countries in Southeast Asia in terms of internet speed.

Cabarios said the NTC was planning to come up with rules setting a maximum speed for the telco’s internet services.

Poe asked the agencies and telcos to submit until July 13 their plans on how to improve internet service and coverage across the country.

Of the telcos, she said only Globe Telco has so far complied as of Monday, as well as the Department of Education.

“We expect others also to submit [as soon as possible],” she said.

Last May, the Philippines ranked 111th out of 173 countries in terms of fixed broadband speed, with a download speed of 22.31 megabits per second (Mbps) and an upload speed of 21.5 Mbps.

In terms of mobile internet speed, the country was at 121st place out of 138 countries.