Philippine Internet is improving but still the slowest in the world

YOU GOT TECH - Abe Olandes - The Philippine Star

The latest State of the Internet Report by Akamai got us by surprise. Every quarter, the cloud service provider and content delivery network publishes a report on the state of the internet globally. The report varies from quarter to quarter but some of the data are regularly gathered for comparison and drawing trends. The most important of all the information they survey is broadband speed and mobile internet connectivity.

The latest report covers the second quarter of 2016. As usual, the Philippines is normally included in most of the categories that Akamai monitors.

In the said quarter, the average internet speed of the Philippines is pegged at 4.3Mbps. That’s higher by 23 percent compared to the 3.5Mbps speed of the previous quarter. The jump is also significantly higher than last year’s 10 percent quarter-on-quarter increase and a 37-percent year-on-year increase.

There’s really nothing new in this report. The Philippines is still among the slowest in the world in terms of average internet speed – 14th or dead last in the Asia-Pacific region and at 100th spot globally. Vietnam is ahead of us at 5.1Mbps, followed by China at 5.2Mbps and Sri Lanka at 5.7Mbps. South Korea is still No. 1 in the region with 27Mbps average internet speed. Indonesia had the biggest surge with 148 percent, putting it at 5.9Mbps just above Sri Lanka.

What is most interesting is the report on mobile internet speed. This is the first time that the Philippines was included in this section of the report. Results showed the Philippines got an average mobile internet speed of 8.5Mbps or a rank of sixth in the Asia Pacific Region.

What’s surprising is that we’re ahead of Singapore (8.1Mbps) and Hong Kong (5.7Mbps), both of which I expected to be in the upper tier of the rankings. South Korea also led the rankings with an average of 11.1Mbps.

The peak speed for the Philippines is also unusually high at 105.1Mbps and the third highest after Australia (171.2Mbps) and Thailand (127.7Mbps). The speeds for the Philippines can only be achieved with carrier aggregation or combining connection speeds from two cell towers. I remember both Globe and Smart activated their 700MHz LTE frequency sometime in June with carrier aggregation that resulted in speed tests above 100Mbps (Smart clocked in 222Mbps via Speedtest.net at one time).

Akamai notes that the Philippines did not meet the minimum requirement of 25,000 unique IP addresses so they did not include it in their analysis. I’m hoping the data collected for the third quarter would meet the requirement so we can continue to monitor the rankings.

Nevertheless, this is good news but it’s still too early to celebrate. On the one hand, there’s promise of improvement in mobile internet speeds but on the other, our fixed broadband internet continues to be the slowest in the world.

We’ll just have to wait and see for the Q3 results. By then, the telcos’ promise of maximizing the 700MHz frequency should have made a significant impact.

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