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Internet infra vital to economy: Philippines needs to address slow internet speed – ADB exec

CEBU, Philippines - An official from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) urged the public and private sectors in the Philippines to address its slow Internet speed.

Seok Yong Yoon, senior public management specialist at ADB, said the Internet speed in the Philippines "is not good" compared to other developed countries.

"And also the [Internet] speed is not affordable for the poor people to enjoy Internet in their everyday lives," Yoon said in an interview at the sidelines of the ongoing Digital Strategies for Development Summit 2015 in Cebu City held from September 22-24.

"Something should be done to address the slow Internet," Yoon stressed, noting the speed and affordability of Internet are both critical.

In the latest Ookla household download index, the Philippines ranked 21st out of 22 nations in Asia for having one of the slowest Internet speeds with 3.64 Megabits per second (Mbps). This is lower compared to the average ASEAN Internet speed of 12.4 Mbps and global average of 23.3 Mbps.

Yoon explained that improving the Internet speed needs the intervention of both the government and industry.

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"Without public and private working together, it can't change the situation," the ADB official said, citing the need to further develop information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and Internet connectivity.

The government, he said, should establish a more enabling environment for Internet service providers. Aside from regulatory reform, Yoon said a comprehensive policy and ICT infrastructure investment are also necessary in the process.

Yoon stressed there is a need to open the industry to more players to create competition, which will eventually trigger improved services among Internet providers as well telecommunications firms.

"Very few companies currently monopolize the market," he said.

In addition, Yoon said fast broadband connectivity is also critical for the country to improve its ICT industry. Without a fast connectivity, the country may miss the opportunity the Internet era can bring, he said.

He noted the ADB is willing to discuss with the Philippine government particularly the Department of Science and Technology how the bank can help advance the ICT sector. (FREEMAN)

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