Rise in PH Internet Speeds Attributed to Fast-tracked Cell-tower Permits

THE rise in Philippine internet speeds to record numbers in December 2020 is attributed to the significant increase in the issuance of permits to telecommunications companies by local government units to build cell site towers following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2020 to streamline and speed up the process or face sanctions.

It takes three to four months to construct a tower, which means that those that are fully operational by December have already greatly contributed to the increase in the country's internet speeds, which is expected to be sustained in the coming months as a roll-out of telecommunications infrastructure is fast-tracked further.

In November of 2020, at least 1,054 construction permits were issued, bringing the total number of permits approved to 4,644 since July 2020 -- an average of 929 permits per month.

The combined number of towers built by DITO, Globe and Smart over a five-month period ending in November totaled 2,510, or an average of 502 towers per month. Overall, the country has 22,405 cell towers as of end-November.

Internet service is expected to further improve along with the rates for the consumers, as the competition among industry players become more intense once DITO starts its commercial operations, combined with the entry of RED Broadband and the aggressive positioning of Converge.

Internet connection in the Philippines has risen to record levels in December 2020, following the latest data from Ookla, a web service that provides free analysis of internet access performance metrics.

A 297.47% improvement on the Philippines' internet average download speed for fixed broadband was indicated in an Ookla December 2020 report, compared to July 2016 speeds. In the same data, there was a massive increase of 202.41% for mobile broadband.

The Philippines' download speed for fixed broadband improved from 7.91 Mbps (July 2016) to 31.44 Mbps (December 2020), while average download speed for mobile broadband also improved from 7.44 Mbps to 22.50 Mbps in the same stretch.

It is also important to emphasize that the monthly increase in speed of 4Mbps for mobile from November to December was the highest monthly since July 2016.