Philippines on track for major upgrade in ICT infrastructure in 2020
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is on track to see major advancement in information and communications technology (ICT) services by next year as the government’s Vision 2020 looks to bear fruit.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has vowed to bring change to the country’s ICT landscape by next year, under its short-term Vision 2020.

“DICT is now looking at its Vision 2020. By the end of year 2020, our people will experience a big improvement in our ICT services,”  DICT Undersecretary for operations Eliseo Rio said in a social media post.

Leading the change is the entry of a new major telecommunications player which will finally begin operations by next year.

“We now have a third telco, Dito Telecommunity (formerly Mislatel) that will start commercial operation around mid-2020,” Rio said.

Dito, a consortium composed of China Telecom and Uy’s  Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., has committed to cover 37 percent of the population and provide 27 Mbps minimum average internet speed in year one of its five-year commitment period.

Aside from Dito’s entry, the govenrment is also counting on the agreement that involves the construction of an ultra high speed information highway in improving the speed, affordability and accessibility of broadband internet throughout the country by next year.

The DICT in 2017 signed a landing party agreement with Facebook, which would be called the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure to improve speed and accessibility, as well as reduce the cost of broadband internet in the country.

“For the first time, the government will have two cable landing stations for its International Gateway Facility, where Facebook will remunerate us with 2Tbps internet bandwidth capacity, worth around P4.2 billion annually, for use in our Free WiFi and the National Broadbands Programs,” Rio said.

Meanwhile, Rio said investments in the country’s ICT sector are also continuing to surge to levels never before seen. These investments are essential to improve the country’s telecommunications services and internet connectivity.

“For the first time in our history, the ICT sector contributed the biggest investment in the first nine months of 2019 of around P340 billion, more than all other sectors combined as per the BOI (Board of Investments),” Rio said.

“This huge investments came from the initial input of the third telco, from common tower providers and passive telecommunication infrastructure providers, and from biggest capex poured in by the incumbent telcos in anticipation of competition from a new player,” he said.

The Philippines is among the lowest ranked countries in the region as far as internet speed is concerned. 

The DICT said the country is also ranked the lowest in terms of tower density in Asia, considering its land area and population. It has a tower density of about 16,300 towers servicing about 113 million subscribers. 

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