Is the Philippine internet speed improving? Palace says so but some are not convinced

January 13, 2021 - 12:40 PM
Image by Frederik Lipfert via Unsplash

The download speed of the country’s internet service providers is supposedly improving, according to a report of the National Telecommunications Commission sent to the Palace.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that Malacañang has received the NTC’s report about updates on the telecommunication sector last Monday.

“Siguro po sa susunod na press briefing natin, hihimay-himayin natin ang NTC report. Pero binabalita naman daw po na mataas daw po iyong pag-improve ng speed kapag nagda-download ang mga service providers natin ng telecommunication,” he said on his Tuesday press briefing.

It could be recalled that in President Rodrigo Duterte‘s penultimate State of the Nation Address last July, he threatened to seize telecommunications companies Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. if they fail to improve their services by the end of the year.

READ: Threat to seize Philippines’ largest telcos: What’s at stake? Can gov’t do it?

Smart is the wireless arm of PLDT, Inc.

“If you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and we revert back to line telephone. I will expropriate that and give that to government,” Duterte said July.

The NTC on December 11 said that it would check the improvement on internet speeds of the telcos at the end of the month when the latter are expected to finish the construction of new cell sites.

At that time, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that there was an improvement in terms of average speed but that it was not that substantial.

Some are not convinced

Despite the positive report, some Filipinos did not agree with the NTC’s findings that the telcos have improved their internet services.

“Dito sa Kalumpang, Marikina mahina ang Globe. Nag-upgrade na kami, ganun pa din. Ano ba ‘yan, sasabihin niyo pa na bumilis, baka iba bumilis,” a Facebook user said in the comments section of the report.

“Mas mabilis nga, mas mabilis mawalan ng connection.. onting hangin, onting ambon, wala na,” another online user commented with a shushing face emoji.

“Hindi po mabilis. Ang serbisyo nila lalo pong bumagal. Ang anak ko po araw-araw po nagpapa-load para may magamit sa online class. ‘Di kasi kaya ng internet,” claimed a different Filipino.

There were others, however, who claimed that their experience has improved.

“Yes napansin ko din, beri beri light lang naman. Pero malaking bagay na talaga siya,” another Facebok user commented.

“Kahit papano nag-improved naman siya kasi naranasan namin ‘yan sa work. Dating laging (lag) sa internet connection dahil dami namin naka-connect, ngayon, hindi na,” likewise shared a different Filipino.

A lawmaker in late December said that the Philippines have the “second slowest” internet speed among its neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The country also ranked 110th among the 139 countries tested last November.

“Filipinos deserve faster internet speeds, which have been associated with higher economic productivity, stronger jobs creation and greater quality of life,” Rep. Luis Campos Jr. (Makati, Second District) said before.

He cited figures from The Speedtest Global Index, wherein Manila – with an average mobile internet speed of 18.49 megabits per second (Mbps) – ranked 110th among 139 countries or territories as of November 2020.

Campos added that the country’s 18.49 Mbps “represents just 60 percent of the 30.94 Mbps average mobile internet speed across all ASEAN members.”

The Speedtest Global Index analyzes web access performance metrics around the world based on millions of tests taken by real people using the internet.