Roque agrees with DICT that internet speed in Philippines 'not that bad'
This screengrab is from the June 30, 2020 press briefing by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
PTV, screen grab

Roque agrees with DICT that internet speed in Philippines 'not that bad'

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - September 17, 2020 - 8:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite numerous complaints about spotty internet connections, Malacañang on Thursday echoed the view of the information and communication technology department that internet speed in the Philippines is "not that bad" but admitted that there is "always room for improvement."

Last Tuesday, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan told a House budget hearing that the average mobile connection speed in the Philippines is three to seven megabits per second. Honasan claimed the country is "not doing too badly" since the speed is better compared to those of some of its neighbors.

Honasan made the remark as various sectors, including students taking online classes, are criticizing fluctuating signals at a time when meetings and transactions are being done online as a safety measure against the pandemic.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, however, claimed that the information and technology chief was "absolutely correct."

"It's not too bad compared to our neighbors as in fact it is better than what was stated by Secretary Honasan. As stated by former (information and communication technology undersecretary Eliseo) Rio, it's higher than what was mentioned by Secretary Honasan," Roque said at a press briefing.

When reminded that the government had postponed the opening of classes due to concerns about internet access, Roque replied: "I don't know. That's actually a point for debate. But what I am saying is that's not the sole consideration of the president."

"It was the president who decided. It was primarily an issue of safety and preparedness, not necessarily internet connectivity. But let me clarify: There's always room for improvement," he added.

Roque noted that President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an ultimatum against telecommunication firms to improve their services by yearend or face closure.

"The president has also undertaken steps to ensure that the needs of telcos, especially the speedy approval of applications for the setting up of towers and other infrastructure by local governments, (are provided)," the Palace spokesman said.

"That means telcos will no longer have an excuse not to provide better services in the future. At a time when even education requires internet access, the President expects that since he has performed his obligation to tell local governments...to shape up, he does not have to accept any alibi in the future in case (telcos) fail to improve their services," he added.

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