Globe Telecom issued a statement on Friday, December 15, disputing the assertion by the government that the combined capacity of the country’s telcos is only at 2 Tbps.
The Ayala-led telco said its international connectivity capacity is more than 16 Terabits per second (Tbps), which is “sufficient to service the bandwidth demand in the country and satisfy the market’s hunger for faster Internet services”.
Globe said it released the statement to “correct the separate public pronouncements made by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) undersecretary Eliseo Rio and BCDA president Vince Dizon who placed the industry’s combined capacity at 2 Tbps.”
While Globe has enough capacity to provide world-class Internet service, the company said right-of-way access and permit issues hamper the connectivity of many Filipinos.
“Our biggest hurdle in delivering consistently good Internet (service) is the cumbersome number of permits and right of way issues that prevent us from building the last mile connectivity that would allow world class internet services to be enjoyed by the ordinary household or any person using a mobile phone,” said Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu.
“We have repeatedly called on the government to help address these issues that are prevalent at the local government level. Now with more people adopting to Internet use much faster than the infrastructure can be built, then the problem gets exacerbated.”
Out of the Globe’s current bandwidth capacity of more than 16 Tbps, the company said its “lit-up” capacity is less than 3 Tbps as the rest of the bandwidth remain unused owing to insufficient last mile infrastructure.
Aside from permitting and right of way issues, other last mile concerns are the non-standardized tower fees across LGUs and real property tax challenges, said Cu.
For years now, Globe said it has been struggling with permitting challenges at the local government levels. To build one cell site alone, the telco said it has to secure 25 permits from local government units.
“Processing the permits, meanwhile, takes at least eight months to complete. Laying down the fiber optic cable to reach homes is another tedious process altogether,” it complained.
Constructing more cell sites is necessary for the Philippines to match and even surpass its Asian neighbors in cell site density, said Cu. “We keep comparing ourselves with developed countries and our highly developed Asian neighbors on Internet speed. What we don’t realize is that we are facing problems unique to the Philippines,” added Cu.
User-per-cell site density in the Philippines is 2,244, based on estimates of 21,000 total cell sites in the country against internet users of around 47.1 million. This statistic only underscores the urgency to build the necessary infrastructure that the country needs, the telco said.
Globe said it has invested heavily in expanding its international cable connectivity, to stay ahead of the demand curve in terms of bandwidth capacity. Just last August, Globe said it launched the Southeast Asia-United States (SEA-US) cable system that has a design capacity of 20 Tbps capacity and directly links Asia to the US.