THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) may have to set highly aggressive targets as to where it wants to take the Philippines in terms of internet connection speed by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in 2022.
Adopting rising connection speed targets in the years ahead, and a having a well-defined strategy to achieve those marks, would give more meaning to the President’s wish to quickly advance the country’s overall internet connectivity.
The DICT could, for instance, aim for an average internet connection speed that is at least 10 times faster than what we now have.
Otherwise, we might be left behind if we simply allow internet service providers to take their own sweet time in improving our sluggish connection.
Shortly after he was elected President, Duterte had vowed to boost connectivity, and threatened to bring in foreigner players to help upgrade Internet services and make them more affordable.
The Philippines’ internet connection has been slow to pick up compared to other countries in Asia Pacific.
He said a year ago, India and the Philippines were tied in having the slowest average connection speed in Asia Pacific at 3.5 Mbps.
However, India has since swiftly raised its average connection speed to 6.5 Mbps, while the Philippines now has the slowest at 5.5 Mbps.
I have been batting for superior public access to the web. I have filed House Bill 5337, which seeks to classify internet service as a “basic service” within the regulatory jurisdiction of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which is under the DICT.
Internet service in the country is regarded as a “value-added service” beyond the NTC’s authority. Once my bill is enacted, the NTC shall be empowered to compel internet service providers to deliver escalating average connection speeds within prescribed deadlines, under pain of harsh regulatory fines.
Based on Akamai Technologies Inc.’s latest quarterly State of the Internet Report, the Philippines’ 5.5 Mbps average connection speed pales when compared to Thailand’s 16.0 Mbps, Vietnam’s 9.5 Mbps, Malaysia’s 8.9 Mbps and Indonesia’s 7.2 Mbps. (Rep. Luis N. Campos Jr. of Makati)