Romblon gripes over excruciatingly slow Internet speed

By Paulo Julian

ODIONGAN, Romblon – Internet speed, already slow in the country, is excruciatingly slower here. The average Internet speed for Romblon is only 1.2 Mbps, said Dr. Arnulfo F. De Luna, president of the Romblon State University (RSU).

Romblon State University president Arnulfo F. De Luna

Romblon State University president Arnulfo F. De Luna

“The charges are expensive despite the slow service,” he said, pointing out that telcos don’t see Romblon as a source of revenues. “We pay for something that we don’t get although the telcos can allocate more bandwidth.”

“Kumikita sila sa atin kahit wala tayong nakikita sa kanila,” De Luna told a tech forum here, adding it is an example of the digital divide “penalizing mostly those in the most remote areas.”

While Romblon might be a case in point for the ever-so-slow Internet speed, it affects the whole country actually.

In the third quarter of 2016, the Philippines was averaging 4 Mbps while Singapore had the fastest in five Asean countries at 18 Mbps, said engineer Reynaldo Sy, South Luzon cluster director of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, citing Akamai’s “State of the Internet Connectivity Report”.

Thailand had nearly 14 Mbps, Malaysia approaching 8 Mbps and Indonesia about 6 Mbps, he added.

The Philippines also lags behind its regional peers in many ways, such as the affordability of online services, said Sy, this time citing the “Global Information Technology Report 2016” of the World Economic Forum.

In terms of Internet penetration, the Philippines again lags behind its global and regional peers, Sy said. The fixed broadband subscription per 100 inhabitants is just 3.40 or 110th out of 187 countries and fourth among member countries of Asean.

Barely one in three (28 percent) of households in the Philippines have Internet connections. This ranks the country 64th out of 138 countries or fifth in Asean.

Sy said the challenges range from geographical constraints that limit the deployment of wireline infrastructure. The number of cellsites, for example, is also limited.

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