Sereno asks telcos to act swiftly on PH’s slow Internet

Chrisee Dela Paz
Sereno asks telcos to act swiftly on PH’s slow Internet
Meanwhile, Senator Bam Aquino says: 'The facets of the Internet go beyond just communications. If we want to grow this country, we have to solve this Internet issue fast.'

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Chief Justice has a shoutout to the country’s two major telecommunications companies, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Globe Telecom Incorporated: act speedily and fix the “horrifyingly narrow and outrageously slow” Internet speed.

“The Philippines has become the leading social media user in the world even if our Internet bandwidth is horrifyingly narrow and outrageously slow…. This is a negative shoutout to the two major telcos,” Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno told the audience at the 2015 Manila Social Good Summit held Saturday, September 26, at the Resorts World Manila.

The Philippines may have the second fastest-growing economy in Asia, next to China, but it also has the slowest Internet in the region.

The Philippines is way behind its neighbors in Asia in Internet speed, where some of the fastest Internet speed in the world are found. Singapore, for example, has an average Internet download speed of 133.1 megabits per second (mbps) compared to the Philippines’ miserable 3.7 mbps, according to www.netindex.com.

Hindrance to economic growth

PERSISTENCE. "[I] will commit to you that we won’t stop until we are not the last anymore in the ASEAN (Association of the Southeast Asian Nations)," Senator Bam Aquino says. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

This shoutout was echoed by Senator Benigno Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV, who chairs the Senate committee on trade, commerce, and entrepreneurship.

“[I] will commit to you that we won’t stop until we are not the last anymore in the ASEAN (Association of the Southeast Asian Nations),” Aquino said.

The Philippines’ slow Internet bandwidth could be putting the brakes on the country’s economic growth.

But Aquino said attempts are being made to improve the situation.

“To see the results, we need competition in the market, hence the Philippine Competition Act. We need to see the government to increase budget for infrastructure,” the senator said.

The government has proposed to increase the budget for information and communications technology to P4.37 billion ($202.40 million) in 2016 from P1.76 billion ($81.42 million) in 2014.

“This is the budget time, so we are trying to put this coming in. Because we feel this is important, we are willing to put in money for better internet in the Philippines,” he added.

“When it comes to our quest for better Internet, we are talking about making the lives of our micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs easier…. The facets of the Internet go beyond just communications. If we want to grow this country, we have to solve this Internet issue fast,” Aquino said. 

The recently signed Philippine Competition Act, according to the senator, will “hopefully help in the entry of new players, and will then help us in having more choices, higher quality, and cheaper prices for our Internet connection.”

But the government needs to relax the foreign ownership limitations, which are currently being deliberated in Congress, he added.

“With competition, services will be better, prices will be lower, and the consumers will be winners,” Aquino said in Filipino. (READ: Monopolies, duopolies hamper PH inclusive growth) – Rappler.com

 

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