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‘The truth about internet speed in PH’

opinion / Latest Opinion
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‘The truth about internet speed in PH’

/ 05:10 AM August 17, 2017

This is with regard to “‘Slowest internet speed in the world’” which came out in Joel Ruiz Butuyan’s column (Opinion, 8/14/17).

Mr. Butuyan said: “Disappointingly, our country’s internet access is controlled by two companies that provide one of the slowest and most expensive internet services in the world… The cost per megabit per second in the Philippines is at an average value of $18.18, while global average is only $5.21 according to the study.” Unfortunately, he did not disclose which study he used as reference in declaring his opinion.

We write to help enlighten Mr. Butuyan and Inquirer readers on the truth about internet speed in the Philippines.

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  1. That “our country’s internet access is controlled by two companies” is farthest from the truth. A simple Google search will indicate there are at least 14 internet service providers in the Philippines. These providers are a combination of national and regional networks that provide internet services to homes and businesses nationwide.
  1. As to internet speed, we refer to the State of the Internet Report by Akamai, a global leader in Content Delivery Network services, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that delivers more than 2 trillion internet interactions daily through its globally distributed content delivery platform, enabling them to share an informed view on internet connectivity. In their Q1 2017 report, the Philippines registered 5.5 Mbps for fixed line internet, an improvement of 57-percent YoY, while mobile is 8.7 Mbps.

Nowhere in this report did it indicate that we are the slowest in the world in terms of internet speed. By contrast, the country registered the strongest growth in the Asia-Pacific. Arguably, internet speed is relative to device, availability of spectrum bandwidth, and infrastructure density in any country.

  1. As to price per Mbps, Globe is offering its Home Broadband plans (fixed line) at 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps speed at P1,899 and P2,499 per month, respectively, in areas where we have strong fiber optic connection. This translates to P38 or $0.74 per Mbps for a 50 Mbps plan and P25 or $0.48 per Mbps for a 100 Mbps plan. For mobile internet, Globe offers P48.82 per GB of data—one of the lowest in Asia. Singapore has prices at P161.28 per GB, Indonesia at P122.50 per GB, and Malaysia at P116.92 per GB—a far contrast to what Mr. Butuyan claimed.

We are now in the age of technological advancements and innovations such as Internet of Things, robotics and artificial intelligence, hence it is not that difficult to imagine Mr. Butuyan’s hologram of planet Earth. Globe as an ICT company is an advocate of latest technology use in the country, such as cloud, IoT, financial technology and even AI.

But it cannot be denied that the Philippines is suffering from a severe lack of ICT infrastructure — a huge challenge that we need to overcome as a country. Unlike in other countries where the government actively invests in cell towers, submarine cable systems, and fiber optic cables to augment the multibillion-dollar spending of industry players, spending for ICT infrastructure in the Philippines is mostly led by the private sector. Thus, countries like Vietnam have 70,000 cell sites today and China has over a million cell sites, compared to our country’s 16,400 cell sites funded exclusively by the private sector. The biggest contributor to the lack of infrastructure is the debilitating bureaucracy and permitting issues that telco operators like Globe are faced with. It takes 25 permits and eight months to put up one cell site. Laying down fiber optic cables requires right-of-way permits that usually take just as long. And homeowners’ associations can easily refuse any operator who wants to put up much-needed infrastructure to help connect cities and municipalities.

As a service operator, Globe is committed to provide superior experience for its over 60 million customers. We invest an average of $500-750 million a year to improve our network. As the purveyor of the Filipino digital lifestyle, we partner with large iconic brands for content and digital experience to meet the changing demand of our customers.

YOLY CRISANTO, SVP, Globe Corporate Communications

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TAGS: Globe, ICT infrastructure, Inquirer letters, internet speed, Joel Ruiz Butuyan, Yoly Crisanto
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