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Faster Internet speeds vowed in 12 months

INTERNET users have long complained of the very slow Internet speed in the country, the slowest in Southeast Asia and one of the slowest in all of Asia. The Philippines has an average Internet speed of only 2.8 megabits per second (mb/s), compared to South Korea’s 26.7, Sweden’s 19.1, Japan’s 17.4, and Hong Kong’s 16.8 in the Akamai Technologies’ State of the Internet report for 2015. In our part of the world, Singapore has 12.5 mb/s; Taiwan, 10.1; and Indonesia, 7.8.

Businesses in the Philippines have been specially hurt by the poor Internet connections. They rely on the Internet for the fast and reliable delivery of goods and services. While email and online platforms are said to be efficient, the volume of exchanges between businesses and clients have slowed the broadband connections.

A glimmer of hope appeared with the recent announcement that the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom, the duopoly which runs our two principal systems Smart and Globe, have acquired additional spectrums from conglomerate San Miguel Corp.’s telecoms business for R69.1 billion. With the deal, PLDT and Globe will have use of four additional frequencies. This should enable them to speed up Internet service at a lower cost, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said.

PLDT and Globe will share some 2,000 cellsites set up by the SMC telecom firms. Their new 700-megahertz frequency is said to be specially useful in boosting Internet speeds. The band is currently used by many countries in the Asia Pacific.

PLDT and Globe both declared they are now mobilizing their resources so as to start using the 700-megahertz and the other frequencies as early as possible. Internet services in the country should improve within the next 12 months, they said.

The NTC has set this deadline of one year to boost Internet speeds in the country, or it will revoke its approval of the R69.1-billion deal. The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) also warned that it is within its powers to evaluate all business agreements and transactions that may impact on market competition. It will therefore assess the situation and take action as appropriate, it said.

We look forward to this promised improvement in services which has long been sought by businesses and other users of the Internet in our country.