Government support is more than crucial to improving the quality of a country’s Internet connection.
Despite the lack of government funding and cell sites, we fare closely to the average speeds of benchmark countries in terms of Internet connection.
The Philippines is parallel with Vietnam and Thailand in many respects. Research suggests that if Internet speed were to serve as the yardstick, we’re quite measuring up.
Based on the report, the average mobile download speed in Thailand is pegged at 93.1 Mbps. Thailand has 52 million Internet users sharing 52,483 cell sites across the country at 991 users per tower. The government of Thailand allots $343 million to better the quality of its Internet.
Average mobile download speed in the Philippines is at 22.5 Mbps. Slow? Think again. The country has a whopping Internet demographic of 73 million, that huddle over measly 17,850 common towers at 4,090 users each.
And, unlike Vietnam and Thailand, Internet betterment in the Philippines have nary direct government funding.
Couple this with a good investment climate that would be realized with direct investments and an active role of the government and there you have it.
According to the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), Philippine telcos’ existing positions are now being challenged by a surge in ICT demand.
The Asia’s rising tiger has swiftly transitioned from being the “texting capital of the world” to becoming the world’s social-media usage capital, what with the average Filipino spending four hours and seven minutes a day on social-media sites, according to the Digital Report in 2017 by Hootsuite and We Are Social.
This high rate of usage vis-à-vis the currently available Internet speeds.
According to the DICT, the Philippines also has the second-slowest fixed line broadband Internet speed in the world.
In order to speed up the Internet in the country, the telco players posit that there is a need to activate more cell sites, but they are hindered by a curious case of bureaucratic red tape.
The tedious process of securing permits from many local governments, national government agencies, barangays and subdivisions are also Philippine Internet betterment’s perennial lump in the throat, impeding construction of network facilities and affecting the availability of service in certain areas.
Per National Telecommunications Commission, on average, 25 to 30 permits from local government units (LGU) are required for the construction of one cell site, processed in a span of eight months.
Factor in the lack of uniformity in processing fees in different LGU.
Internet Society-Philippines Chapter posits that these barriers also turn away new players’ entry into the telco market, suppressing competition — a real competition that could provide consumer choice and thus drive significant improvements in cost and quality.