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Support for more digital infrastructure urged ahead of SONA

Philstar.com
Support for more digital infrastructure urged ahead of SONA
The average broadband internet speed in the Philippines is currently ranked 41st in the world, according to the Telecom Review. This is allegedly still a big problem because the speed is frequently inconsistent and merely limited.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is campaigning to have President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., give more emphasis to digital connectivity as the latter's third State of the Nation Address (SONA) nears.

In an interview, DICT Spokesperson Atty. Renato Paraiso said that the department is firm in its advocacy of developing the country's digital infrastructure and will call for more attention to digital infrastructure in the country.

"Well, again, I think with this year's SONA, ang talagang pinapahighlight natin or hinihiling natin na suporta, really is, infostructures natin. Pagpapalakas ng mga digital infostructures natin, ang connectivity, so ayan 'yung mga free wifi, upskilling, at cyber security po," Paraiso said.

The average broadband internet speed in the Philippines is currently ranked 41st in the world, according to the Telecom Review. This is allegedly still a big problem because the speed is frequently inconsistent and merely limited.

Data from the DICT showed that 65% of the country's population is still not connected to the internet. According to the Statista Research Department, an international research company, 77.81% of the Filipino population will only have an internet connection by 2028 in its current phase.

According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Philippines has the lowest coverage rates of telecom towers in the Southeast Asian region and will need an additional 60,000 towers by 2031 in far-flung areas.

2021 data from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) showed that there are more than 22,000 cell sites in the country, less than a third of Vietnam's 90,000, and they are shared between three telcos.

The DICT is set to build an additional 10,000 independent common towers to help expand the reach of broadband connections in the country, in addition to the 2,374 towers under its jurisdiction.

In a meeting last April, the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) also recommended to President Marcos the allocation of P608 billion annually to DICT to help build more digital infrastructure and expand internet coverage in the country.

Marcos has been supportive of improving the country's broadband connection and projects to reach around 70 million Filipinos by 2026 under the National Fiber Backbone Project.

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