Philippines marks gains in internet metrics

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has shown improvements in terms of download and upload speeds amid investments being made by telcos to provide better services to customers, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said.

Citing data from internet metrics provider Ookla’s speedtest.net, NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said in a telephone interview yesterday the Philippines has made gains in terms of internet speed as it ranked 11th in terms of average download speed and upload speed globally this year.

This is an improvement as the Philippines has been a laggard when it comes to average internet speed rankings in previous years.

Cabarios said the data from Ookla is consistent with the findings of other reports which showed the Philippines is making gains when it comes to internet speed.

The United Nations (UN) E-Government Survey 2016 on E-Government Development Index (EGDI) which provides scores by looking at dimensions of e-government such as scope and quality of online services, status of the development of telecommunication infrastructure and human capital index, showed the Philippines’ ranking improved to 71st from 95th, previously.

The Information Communications Technology (ICT) Index 2015 of UN specialized agency for ICT ITU also showed the Philippines rose to the 98th spot from 105th earlier.

Cabarios said even the measurements conducted by the NTC showed improvements in upload and download speeds.

Based on measurements conducted for the period of Aug.17 to 31 using speed test agents, PLDT Inc. was able to deliver 81 percent of its advertised download speed, while Globe Telecom Inc. delivered 73 percent, Bayantel provided 74 percent and SKY had 72 percent.

“The improvements are indications the infrastructure is improving and costs are going down,” Cabarios said.

He said the investments being made by telcos to expand existing capacity by adding cell sites and fiber are also driving the improvements.

PLDT, which initially allocated P43 billion worth of capital expenditures for this year, has raised the amount to P48 billion for the utilization of new frequencies it gained access to after acquiring half of San Miguel Corp.’s telco assets in May.

Globe which has earmarked $750 million capex this year, may increase the budget by $10 million in the last two quarters of the year, for projects to provide customers a better internet experience.

Cabarios said that while private companies are investing to improve the infrastructure for services, the government would have to make the investments in locations commercial telcos would not be able to reach.

“We are preparing a national broadband plan which will identify where government will invest in,” he said, adding the plan would be released before the end of the year.

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