Internet access in the Philippines has substantially grown as it now covers over a third of the country’s population.
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said that rising economic activities led to an increase in demand for easily available information.
The Statistics agency on Friday said in a report that the Internet penetration rate in the Philippines rose to 36 percent last year from only 2 percent in 2000.
The increase in Internet penetration was consistent with trends seen in developing countries.
“We are having more and more Internet subscribers … [seeking] information in real time,” said Jose Ramon Albert, secretary general of the NSCB.
Citing data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the NSCB said the Philippines belonged to the top half of selected Southeast Asian economies in terms of Internet penetration rate.
Singapore had the highest rate estimated between 60 and 70 percent. Malaysia followed, with a range of 50 to 60 percent.
Vietnam followed with 30 to 40 percent, while that of Thailand fell somewhere between 10 and 20 percent.
Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Timor Leste, and Cambodia all registered penetration rates of less than 10 percent.
The NSCB said that, although Internet access has improved substantially in the Philippines and other developing countries, the disparity between their group and that of advanced economies remained huge.
In particular, it said, the average Internet penetration rate in advanced economies was estimated at 77 percent. This was far higher than the estimated average of 31 percent for developing countries.
“Disparities in technological and analytical capacities may yield a big divide … between advanced economies and the developing world,” the NSCB said.
Also, mobile subscription in the Philippines stood at 102 percent. This means some people each has more than one subscription.
This is consistent with the trend in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world, according to the NSCB. In many Southeast Asian countries, mobile subscription rate was at least 100 percent.
The exceptions were Timor Leste, where the rate stood between 40 and 60 percent; and Vietnam and Myanmar, where the rates were 20 percent or less.