Slowing us down
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Asia is where some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world can be found and it is ironic that the Philippines is way behind its neighbors in that aspect. The Ookla household download index for April 18, 2015 and May 17, 2015 ranked the Philippines' 3.64 Megabits per second (Mbps) at 176 th out of 202 countries. Our Internet speed ranks 21 st out of 22 countries in Asia, trailed only by war-torn Afghanistan.
That Internet speed is way off the global average of 23.3 Mbps and absolutely embarrassing compared to regional and world topnotchers such as 1 st place Singapore's 122.43 Mbps and 2 nd place Hong Kong's 102.96 Mbps.
What hurts even more is that a comparison of broadband starter plans reveals that we pay more for one of the slowest Internet speeds in the region. Filipinos pay P1,099 for a maximum speed of 2Mbps while Singaporeans pay an equivalent of P1,644.19 for a maximum speed of 300Mbps.
In the face of such blistering Internet speeds, our National Telecommunications Commission has just recently signed a memorandum stating that “broadband” must have a data connection speed of at least 256 kilobits per second – the obviously outdated standard of the International Telecommunications Union.
The NTC memorandum set the minimum broadband speed and mandated service providers to disclose to the public their average data rates per location. Services marketed as broadband must have speeds above 256kbps at least 80 percent of the time or the Internet Service Provider will face “administrative sanctions at the minimum”.
A recent hearing into the sorry state of internet speeds in the Philippines has started some reforms in the industry and hopefully improves the delivery of this critical service that many people feel should be considered a utility but more government intervention will be needed if we are going to catch up to our high tech neighbors or even just the global average.
This is something our government has to focus on if we are serious about competing with the rest of the developed world.*