MANILA, Philippines – In a country where the number of mobile subscriptions outnumber the actual national population, and where global social media records have been broken from selfies to trending tweets, connectivity is king.
These days, everything from ordering food, to hailing a rental car, to staying in touch, and even banking transactions can now be done with a few swipes and taps. Our smartphones, coupled with mobile Internet, have changed our lives for good. The role of mobile has evolved from mere calls and texts.
As evinced in developed countries such as Singapore and South Korea, information and communications technology (ICT) can propel an entire nation’s development. It can play a big role in improving government services, access to education and healthcare, and even enhancing existing data on national sentiments about the upcoming elections.
Even broadband has also taken leaps and bounds from the old dial-up, as technology now moves toward connected homes and businesses in light of the Internet of Things. With the local entry of data-heavy devices and services like Chromecast and recently, Netflix, the demand for reliable high-speed Internet connection through a fixed broadband connection continues to rise.
Here in the Philippines, there’s still lots of work that needs to be done. When comparing the state of our Internet versus other countries, one should take into account important factors in infrastructure deployment and development.
Geographical factors, for example, are a big consideration when it comes to the speed and quality of technology roll-out. As an archipelago, the Philippines cannot be compared to island city-state Singapore like apples to apples. It is a lot harder to deploy infrastructure logistically.
Still, these considerations do not take away the need to keep pushing for ICT development but rather fortifies it. With a market touted as a Fast Grower in Southeast Asia by GSMA Intelligence, and with proof of connectivity significantly boosting growth in countries worldwide, the Philippines can benefit greatly from developed ICT.
How ICT can push development in the PH
Mobile apps have revolutionized payments, providing even lower-income households easy access to financial services such as banking, online shopping, or expense tracking.
Healthy citizens drive a nation’s economic growth. Big Data analytics and better access to health information means better access to health services. ICT can be used to boost agricultural production and improve food security.
A strong telecommunications and ICT support can make e-learning a possibility, even in underdeveloped areas without access to urban facilities. At a fraction of the cost of brick-and-mortar classrooms, educational materials are now accessible to those who need it most.
A strong tech infrastructure can help governments be more transparent, efficient, and resilient in providing basic services. During disasters, mobile technology has proved indispensable in crafting coordinated response mechanisms, facilitating aid, and planning for rehabilitation and mitigation.