Sen. Chiz Escudero said he will look into the “pathetic state” of Internet speed in the country to see how the government can address the situation and give the information technology (IT) sector a boost.
“The current situation in the country is, sad to say, unacceptable. The state of Internet speed is pathetic, and unless we remedy this situation, our IT sector is likely to suffer in the long term,” Escudero said.
The senator said the government, particularly the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), should give the situation immediate attention.
“The government should crack the whip on our telecommunications companies. If they have to be mandated to allocate some of their earnings for improving Internet speed, mainly through investing in more equipment and hardware, then so be it,” Escudero said.
“These telcos have been going to town in the past few years telling their shareholders that they have been earning billions of pesos. But they conveniently forget the millions of subscribers and users who put those billions in their coffers but who continue to suffer from poor service,” he added.
“The point is, something needs to be done and done very soon.” The senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, said he is willing to spearhead legislation that would help improve the situation.
“The problem is that government agencies that are supposed to monitor these telcos and help consumers don’t seem to feel the urgency of the situation,” Escudero said.
The senator also warned that slow Internet speed may derail the projected growth of the IT-BPO industry.
“The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) recently reported that it was targeting $25 billion in revenues and 1.3 million jobs by 2016. Even these targets might be affected if our Internet service in the country does not improve, and we might see these jobs go to other countries in the region that can provide investors and clients better Internet services,” Escudero warned.
He cited recent reports by global Internet providers Ookla and Akamai that showed the dismal state of Internet speed in the Philippines.
The latest Ookla household download index report ranked the Philippines 21st out of 22 countries in Asia, trailed only by Afghanistan.
Singapore was ranked first with a broadband speed of 122.43 Megabits per second (Mbps) followed by Hong Kong with 102.96 Mbps.
The household download speed in the Philippines clocked in at an embarrassing 3.64 Mbps.
On the other hand, Akamai’s latest state of the Internet report showed that the country’s average Internet speed in the fourth quarter of 2014 was 2.7 Mbps, peaking at 21.9 Mbps.
South Korea had the fastest average Internet speed in Asia with 22.2 Mbps while Indonesia had the slowest average at 1.9 Mbps.