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Gov’t blamed for PH’s slow Internet speed

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MANILA, Philippines—The country’s slow Internet connection speed, the slowest in the Southeast Asian region, is due to the lack of a central organization that heads the development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, the head of an international IT enterprise service provider said.

“If you look at our neighboring countries, a lot of them have increased focus on ICT as a key ingredient of the government and the economy,” Ronnie Latinazo, Country Manager of EMC Corporation said during a roundtable discussion with reporters Tuesday.

“In the Philippines it’s not even a department level body. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a department or a commission, the point is we want someone looking at it from a holistic standpoint,” he said.

The recent 2014 Net Index rankings by Internet broadband testing company Ookla found that Philippines has the slowest Internet speed compared to the rest of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

The Philippines has an average speed of 3.5 Mbps compared to Singapore (65 Mbps), Thailand (17.9 Mbps), Vietnam (13 Mbps), Cambodia (5.4 Mbps), Malaysia (5.4 Mbps), Brunei (5.3 Mbps), Myanmar (5.2 Mbps), Laos (4.3 Mbps), and Indonesia (4.1 Mbps).

“I think studies show that a country’s ability to adopt technology facilitates the development of the country economically,” Latinazo said.

He said that the development of the Philippine’s Internet infrastructure is not moving as fast as it should because of the scattered programs under multiple government agencies.

“Today portion of the program are scattered, so I think it’s very difficult to come up with a holistic end-to-end program to facilitate the overall development,” Latinazo said.

“It should be addressed and I think it’s being addressed except it’s not being addressed as fast as everyone wants to. We in the IT industry have been trying to advocate the roll out of faster projects in terms of infrastructure,” he said.

Latinazo also pointed out the lack of progress with a bill in Congress creating the Department of ICT (DICT), which has been filed and refiled several times in the past since the 13th Congress.

The bill consolidates the powers and functions of the Information and Communications Technology Office, National Computer Center, all offices under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) that have responsibilities in communications.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Philippines Postal Corporation (PPC) would also be attached to the DICT.

“We’ve been trying to support that initiative ever since but unfortunately it has not pushed through,” Latinazo said.

“It has come to a point where everyone has recognized that it’s not about having a ministry, regardless of level. It’s about having an organization that’s more unified and holistic, be it ministry, be it commission or person, but today there’s none,” he said.

Currently, the bill has been refiled in the 16th Congress as Senate Bill 2144 on February 26, 2014. It is presently pending in the Committee level.

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  • Kaska

    It’s because NTC has no balls at all. Telcos hold them in the neck and dictates them. NTC is a whole bunch of old clowns. Their brains are moving backward.

  • neverwint3r

    the telecoms companies are greedy and refuses to invests in ultra-fast fiber-optic submarine backbone unlike countries like singapore. s. korea, australia and japan.

    it’s a monopoly so the consumers have no choice. and congress won’t dare investigate because the billionaire owenrs and businessmen tycoons make huge contributions to them every elections.

  • Mia

    If local telco companies will “moderate their greed”, internet speed will improve even without government intervention.

  • Flugie

    I don’t think the problem lies mainly with the government. I’ve been to and worked at almost all of these countries for periods of time. Like, in Cambodia there is less government red tape crap so one can put up a biz in 3 weeks or less. Here, it takes 3 months to 3 years (based on experience). As one of the posters below said it, the solution doesn’t lie with the government – it’s with the provider i.e. those three simply suck and it is sad that their clients have to bear with how they suck.

    No to additional government red tape and bureaucracy.

  • Andres

    Guys please be careful! This is a questionable article and dubious initiative.

    They are alleging that the problem is – there lacks a certain bureaucracy. They are looking for another red tape that is something we are supposed to eliminate.

    The problem is with Sun, Smart and Globe. But with the “right arrangement” anybody can get a decent speed as it is with my businesses. For Internet speed you don’t talk to the government, you talk to the provider (THIS IS AS PER EXPERIENCE).

    No to expanded government bureaucracy and red tape to govern Internet infrastructure!

  • ???

    Two main reasons why internet speed in PH will not improve in the foreseeable future:

    Reason No. 1
    PNoy’s key election donors = Ayala (Globe) + MVP (PLDT-Smart) + Lopez (BayanTel)

    Reason No. 2
    NTC not monitoring Quality of Service and capacity of B-Band service providers vis-a-vis promised internet speed to customers. In exchange, NTC commissioner and staff receive monthly allowances from B-Band service providers for looking the other way.

    • PALABOKBOY

      Nope.. there is only 1 reason.. PENOY.. he is the president he has the power to stop this hullabaloo.. but he is also corrupt.. and prefers to play PSP with Josh

    • CmdrAdobo

      Reason No. 3
      Filipino culture. We just accept whatever we have, live with it, and dont complain about it. While it’s not totally bad but we need to demand more to have better service.

      It applies to anything. Like we are just happy on the food we eat and tasty food is not required. Or we can live to drive on rough roads.

    • Mitch Tuazon

      As regards your second reason, i think that you cant really blame the ntc for failing to provide quality service to the consumers. The agency does not have the proper tools. It still operates withing the public service law of 1936 (yeah, 1936) which only imposes a fine of 200 pesos on telcos. Aside from this, consider also the demographics of the philippines, one of the most internet-active countries in the world. The asean graph fails to consider, on a case to case basis, how different the populations and geographies of its 10 member states are. For example, in cambodia, the internet is a highly centralized commodity. In the philippines, halos lahat ng 7107 islands may connection. In light of the ntc receiving allowances, evidence please.



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