Asia’s ‘slowest’ Internet system threatens PH gains
Everyone agrees that a high-speed Internet system brings huge benefits to a country much, much more than an enhanced social networking environment.
Among these benefits are outstanding economic growth and job creation; in this regard, a high-speed Internet system is regarded as important as roads, bridges and electric power—far outstripping the benefits derived from a good telephone system which used to be cited in the previous century as a major factor of growth.
An equal and arguably not a mere secondary benefit is the huge advantage in learning, research, communication and exchange of information allowed our students and their mentors, thus equipping those who will soon be our businessmen, political leaders, scientists, teachers, professionals and entrepreneurs with the latest in advanced knowledge and skills, which means more progress for our country.
With the promised passage of the Freedom of Information bill into law this year, a speedy Internet system will be an extremely effective means, accessible to all, of minimizing government corruption—a malaise that has held back our country from progress, and kept our country economically behind other Asian nations and 40 percent of our people in dire poverty.
A state-of-the-art Internet system will sharpen the Philippines’ competitiveness in the global market and in the integrated Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic setup which kicks off next year.
Any private or government entity that, through its policies or (in)action, denies Filipinos access to high-speed Internet system is therefore an obstacle in the nation’s pursuit of progress and struggle to stamp out corruption.
Recently, I and some friends watched on TV a resource person speaking to the senators looking into why the Philippine Internet system is the slowest in Asia. Euphemisms such as “inadequate infrastructure,” “user overload” were mentioned. What is really the crux of the problem? Any subscriber to an Internet service must have noticed how every Internet provider delivers the promised bandwidth as a selling point, then after the subscription is sealed, as weeks and months pass and more and more subscribers sign on, the speed gets abominably slower and slower as to be almost useless. Eventually, the provider worsens the situation by imposing a bandwidth usage limit or by throttling the Internet speed available to the users. Yet the profits and the return on investment of the providers are so immense as to be the envy of other business sectors.
“Inadequate infrastructure” and “user overload,” ascribed to as the reasons the Philippine Internet system is the slowest in Asia, are actually end-results. The real cause of our poor Internet service, some people think, is “a conscious decision to safeguard the immense profits and returns on investment against the expenditures needed to build more infrastructure to service the increasing number of subscribers.”
Whatever the cause, if it’s not properly and promptly remedied, could severely reverse the course of rapid progress the Philippines has achieved this far under the leadership of President Aquino.
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