Stable internet in PH possible if real estate sector, telcos work together – group | Inquirer Technology
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AS DEVELOPERS ALLEGEDLY BLOCK INSTALLATION OF NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE

Stable internet in PH possible if real estate sector, telcos work together – group

/ 01:03 AM August 06, 2022
A stable internet in the Philippines will only be possible if the real estate sector and telcos will work together, according to CitizenWatch Philippines

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MANILA, Philippines — A non-government organization has called on the real estate sector and telecommunication companies to work hand-in-hand in ensuring the availability of stable internet connections in communities.

This comes amid reports that some land developers allegedly block the construction of network infrastructure which could improve the internet in the country.

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Civil society group CitizenWatch Philippines stressed in a statement Friday that a stable internet connection must now be considered a basic utility, especially with the advent of work-from-home schemes and online classes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CitizenWatch Philippines co-convener Atty. Tim Abejo said there are still many real state developers who refuse to allow cell sites and restrict access to fiber cable installations – thus resulting in slow internet connections for residents.

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“A stable internet connection is no longer a nice-to-have feature but a basic utility, just like electricity and water. In the world we live in today, communities must be digitally ready, and this is one thing that developers must guarantee,” Abejo said.

“The pandemic-induced lockdowns made us see how indispensable the internet is to our professional and even personal lives. It is not only workplaces that need to be fully digital. Communities also have to be digitally enabled,” he added.

Abejo also hoped that those in the construction and land development sector should consider telecommunication infrastructure even during the planning stages of subdivisions and communities – just like how they prepare for electricity and water utilities.

“Building and subdivision developers should make room for communication infrastructure as early as [in] their planning stages, in the same way as electrical, electromechanical, water, plumbing, sanitation and other aspects are considered,” he stressed.

In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers who can do telecommuting relied on internet connections while children enrolled in primary and secondary educational institutions needed to communicate with their teachers and classmates on an online method.

However, internet speeds were initially not up to par: internet speed monitoring organization Ookla noted in an August 2020 report that it was only during that month that download speeds started to return to pre-pandemic levels.

This means that since March 2020 when lockdowns were imposed over Luzon and other areas in the country, internet speeds were dipping due to high demand among users.

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READ: Speedtest data: PH internet speeds returning to pre-pandemic levels

Abejo expressed hopes that the commitment from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Senator Grace Poe about pursuing better internet services would bear fruit.

Poe recently refiled Senate Bill No. 329 or the Better Internet Act before the 19th Congress, which seeks to require telco companies to broaden the scope of their services and adhere with a minimum speed threshold.

READ: Improved internet service bill refiled in Senate

“As advocates championing the interests of ordinary citizens and consumers, we laud – and expect much from – the DICT’s and Sen. Poe’s legislative initiative to mandate fast connectivity for all housing developments,” Abejo said.

“Telco space for network infrastructure in housing developments, be they buildings or subdivisions, should be a standard facility integrated by developers and imposed by government to align with a nationwide broadband strategy,” he added.

Internet speeds in the country have vastly improved since 2020, if Ookla’s Global Index is to be believed: last April 2022, Ookla released its first quarter report showing that internet in the country improved even more – despite registering several increases in the past year.

READ: Ookla Q1 report shows faster PH internet; Caloocan tops cities in download speeds

Customers appeared to feel the same way too, as Ookla said that surveys on their Speedtest application showed better responses from customers especially after the entry of a third telco player in the country.

READ: Customers’ perception of telcos improves with entry of third competitor – Ookla

Improvements like this must be sustained, Abejo said, by having developers prepare or allow the entry of companies improving internet infrastructure. According to him, failure to address this issue would only result in more expensive retrofitting as there is no choice but to adapt to the digital age.

“There is no doubt that the Internet connectivity must be reliable and at least at par with global speed standards. To keep up with all our online activities – fast broadband services are now a basic necessity. If deprived of this, the quality of life and the productivity of entire communities, not just individuals, organizations or households, will be seriously stymied,” he noted.

“The digital readiness of our people should be a prime concern of government. This is essential to our recovery and the economic empowering of our people,” he added.

KGA

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TOPICS: Internet, Real estate, telco
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