A member of Congress has blamed the steep drop in the Philippine economy?s competitiveness partly on the country?s lackluster Internet connectivity, which has been rated the slowest in Asia.
?There?s no question our overall economic efficiency has been weighed down by inadequate yet costly Internet connectivity,? Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said in a statement
Campos was reacting to the Philippines? nine-notch drop to the 50th spot out of 63 economies in the 2018 World Competitiveness Yearbook rankings of the International Institute for Management Development.
?If our average Internet connection speed is slower compared to other countries, and yet we have to pay a higher price for it, then that makes our economy somewhat less competitive,? Campos said.
Poor connectivity adversely affects businesses, consumers and government agencies that have become increasingly reliant on the Internet to perform daily transactions, the lawmaker said.
Campos is counting on the entry of new players to drive real competition in the supply of faster Internet connection speeds at lower prices.
Malaca?ang has hinted that President Duterte is likely to declare the liberalization of the telecommunications sector and announce the entry of new players when he delivers his State of the Nation Address on July 23.
Campos has been batting for the reclassification of Internet access as a ?basic telecommunications service? so that regulators may compel suppliers to provide rising connection speeds under pain of stiff punitive fines.
Under House Bill 5337, Campos wants the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) empowered to regulate both the quality and the cost of Internet connection by tagging it a basic service.
At present, the 23-year-old Philippine Public Telecommunications Policy Law treats Internet access as a ?value-added service? rather than a basic service. Thus, suppliers are relatively free to provide the service on their own terms.
The Philippines? 5.5 Mbps average Internet connection speed is the slowest among 15 Asia Pacific countries, according to Akamai Technologies?s State of the Internet Connectivity Report.
Worldwide, South Korea has the fastest average connection speed at 28.6 Mbps, while Paraguay has the slowest at 1.4 Mbps.