DICT expects big leap in internet speed by July 2021

Published October 6, 2020, 6:14 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Expect the country’s current low internet speed of 3 to 7 mpbs to increase to about 55 mbps by July 2021.

This is the result of high-stakes competition among three big telecommunications corporations (telcos) in the country: Smart, Globe and Dito Telecommunity.

Dito is the third to join the Information Technology sector earlier dominated by Smart and Globe.  It is a Philippines-China business joint venture.

This was disclosed today by Gamaliel Cordoba, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner, when he and Department of Information Communication and Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II appeared before a Senate committee budget hearing chaired by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson.

Cordoba said that Globe and Smart were forced to join Dito in the race for a better and reliable internet connection.

The Philippines is rated as having one of the slowest internet speeds in Southeast Asia.  

‘’And they are spending so much on their capital expenditures. Si Globe po for 2020, ang gagastusin nila ay $1.6 billion at si Smart naman po ay nasa P70 billion.  Because of the entry of Dito,’’ he stated. (Globe will spend $1.6 billion in 2020 while Smart will spend P70 billion.)   

The race has intensified following the adoption of a provision in the Bayanihan 2 Act local government units (LGUs) to approve  permits within a week and a threat by President Duterte to take drastic action if the telcos do not improve their services.

Honasan said his department has twin initiatives on a common tower policy where all three players could use a single platform.

He said he told the telcos not to charge subscribers for the installation of these towers which cost some P10 million each.

The NTC, a quasi-judicial body, has ‘’(taken) executive action backed up with legislative intervention (and) that’s where we are now po,’’ Honasan told Senator Maria Josefa Imelda Marcos on the possibility of suits regarding allocation of frequencies.

 ‘’Wow, doble na yan. Sana naman totoo ito,’’ Marcos said when Cordoba stated that the current slow internet speed would jump from the current 3 to 7 mpbs to 55 mpbs in July next year.

Cordoba said Dito earlier promised an internet speed of 27 mpbs on the first year of its operations which is subject to audit by an independent auditor.

He said Dito would pay a penalty if it does not back up its promise.

Marcos supported the augmentation of the DICT’s budget whose requested budget of P17.27 billion was reduced by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to P902.19 million.

Cordoba told Marcos that other countries spend for a national broadband.

These countries put up the infrastructures and the telcos lease these from the government.

‘’That is the model used in other countries kaya po maganda ang service nila at wala po problema sa right of way at wala silang problema sa mga permits because it is the government that is doing all that,’’ Cordoba added. (That is why their internet service is good because they (telcos) do not have right-of-way problem and no problem getting their permits.)