In a May 22 (Sunday) press conference, Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte gave Philippine telecommunications companies (TelCos) a stern warning to provide faster internet service or face foreign competition which can do it “better.”
In a study by Internet metrics provider Ookla, the Philippines came out with an average household download speed of 3.64 Mbps, making it the 176th out of 202 countries when it comes to internet speed. The country’s local download speed is eight times slower than the global average broadband download speed which is 23.3 Mbps. The Philippines has the second-slowest Internet speed in Asia, trailing after insurgency-ridden Afghanistan. Despite the dismal speed, prices for internet service is more than thrice the global average.
The incoming President said that he will deal a heavy blow on what he calls a “cartel” that controls prices at the expense of consumers in the energy and telecommunications industries. The presumptive President however has not specified how he will deal this “blow” as the Philippine Constitution only sets a cap of up to 40% for foreign stakes in local corporations.
Two of the country’s biggest telcos later individually released separate statements in response to the “threat” issued by the incoming President.
“We support the call for faster internet. In fact, Globe is at the forefront of building the much needed infrastructure nationwide to make Internet services easily accessible either through mobile or wireline. This is supported by heavy investments over the years to make sure the Philippines is at par with other countries in terms of technology use,” stated by Globe’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto.
Crisanto added that that the government “also plays a role in improving Internet services.”
“This includes promoting IP peering and more importantly address the issues on permitting, right of way, and site acquisition so that infrastructure builds can happen faster and at less cost,” Crisanto said.“In terms of competition, Globe has long been a challenger brand having a long history of competing with a larger and more dominant market player. We welcome competition in a level playing field and under an environment that is supportive of business,” Crisanto concluded.
“We are aligned with government efforts to improve telecom services. PLDT is in fact in the middle of a major three-year network investment program that is in process of significantly improving telecom and Internet services for PLDT and Smart customers and will support national development initiatives,” stated Isberto.