MANILA (Mabuhay) — Why is Internet connection in the Philippines so slow and so expensive?
Frustrated by the poor service of local Internet service providers, a congressman is seeking a formal inquiry into the country’s slow connection to the World wide Web in comparison to neighboring countries in Asia where such services also cost less.
Under House Resolution 1658, Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar urged the House information and communication technology committee to conduct an inquiry on “how to improve the country’s poor Internet connection.”
“[Data] from Internet metric firm Ookia show that the Philippines [has] a general average speed of only 3.55 Mbps (megabit per second),” Villar said.
This lags behind other Southeast Asian countries, such as Laos, with 4.0 Mbps, Indonesia, with 4.1 Mbps, Myanmar and Brunei, with 4.9 Mbps, Malaysia, with 5.5 Mbps, and Cambodia, with 5.7 Mbps, he said.
Singapore (61.0), Vietnam (13.1) and Thailand (17.7) are the only Southeast Asian countries with Internet speeds above the regional average of 12.4 Mbps, Villar said, citing the Ookia survey.
The lawmaker also cited the first-quarter results of the “State of the Internet Report” of Akamai, a major US-based provider, which said the Philippines has an average speed of only 2.1 Mbps. (This slightly improved to 2.5 in the second-quarter survey, the latest available on the firm’s website.)
“There is a need to address this alarming and poor state of Internet service in the country as it impacts on consumer welfare, productivity, right to information and ultimately on our economy,” Villar said.
Local consumers, he said, would spend about P1,000 a month for Internet service with speeds of up to only 2.0 Mbps or about P2,000 for up to 5.0 Mbps.
But the largest telecommunications company in Singapore offers 15 Mbps of Internet speed for 36.90 Singapore dollars or about P1,312 a month, he said. In Thailand, 799 baht, or about P1,100, could give consumers 12 Mbps of connection.
“There is an urgent need to enhance effective competition in the telecommunications industry in order to promote the state policy of providing the environment for the emergence of communications structures suitable to the balanced flow of information,” Villar said. (MNS)