Honasan: Philippines internet speed ânot that badâ
During a budget hearing Tuesday in Congress, Secretary Gringo Honasan of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the average mobile connection speed in the country of three to seven megabits per second (Mbps) is not as terrible as the public says as compared with neighboring countries.
STAR/ File
Honasan: Philippines internet speed ‘not that bad’
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - September 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — As far as Secretary Gringo Honasan of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is concerned, internet speed in the Philippines “is not that bad.”

During a budget hearing Tuesday in Congress, Honasan said the average mobile connection speed in the country of three to seven megabits per second (Mbps) is not as terrible as the public says as compared with neighboring countries.

“Right now, without going into figures, we are not doing too badly. But this is so hard to explain to the public,” he told members of the House appropriations committee. “Of course compared to other countries, they can reach up to 55 Mbps while ours is still between 3 and 7 Mbps. But this is not that bad.”

DICT Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Caintic explained that the country’s internet connection speed, particularly in broadband services, has improved in recent years.

He said the country’s fixed broadband speed in 2016 was 7.91 Mbps, which jumped to 25.07 Mbps this year. For mobile, the average internet speed in the country is currently at 6.95.

“We already improved a lot. But this is no cause for celebration because our neighbors hit 213.18 Mbps in fixed broadband and 56.43 Mbps in mobile,” Caintic said.

Caintic attributed the slower internet connection in the country to lack of telecommunications infrastructure, saying fixed broadbands of other countries require lots of fiber optic cables and telecommunication towers for fast mobile internet.

Honasan said that to modernize and improve the country’s internet quality and speed, the government should launch projects with private firms like telecom companies.

He revealed that the DICT has issued 23 provisional certificates to independent tower companies in a bid to ramp up telco towers infrastructure in the country.

Caintic added the DICT will need a budget of P17 billion to “fire up” the country’s “national digital highway” by setting up fiber optic cables in the 81 provinces in the country.

But he lamented that in the agency’s proposed P10.9-billion budget for 2021, only P902 million is allocated for this DICT project.

“Our plan is to first light up our national highway which is the fiber optic cable of the national grid. Apart from that, we will also spend on microwave radio towers in far-flung areas not reachable by fiber,” Caintic bared, as DICT officials appealed for increase in their proposed budget for next year.

The agency had proposed a budget of P46.6 billion for 2021, but the Department of Budget and Management approved P10.9 billion or only 23.4 percent in the National Expenditure Program submitted to Congress.

Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte of Camarines Sur lamented the small amount allocated to the DICT’s national broadband program and vowed to ask lawmakers to increase the budget for it. 

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