The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is optimistic of an improved state of Internet connectivity in the coming months with the strengthened implementation of government connectivity programs and roll-out of telecommunications players.

“Digital infrastructure and connectivity are central to the ability of our country to move forward, address social changes, and meet the challenges of the future. With the private sector investing in digital infrastructure to upgrade the competitiveness of the Philippines, we hope to attract more opportunities, create more jobs, and generally improve the lives of our countrymen,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said during DITO Telecommunity’s commercial roll-out on March 8, 2021.

“The DICT is continuously coordinating with the NTC in monitoring the roll-out plans of all telco players following the directives of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for telcos to improve their services amid the new normal,” Secretary Honasan added.

On 23 February 2021, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) reported that the third major telco, DITO Telecommunity, had submitted the technical audit conducted by the Independent Auditor R.G. Manabat & Co. in fulfillment of its commitments for its first year of roll-out.

DITO’s first year commitments, as indicated in its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) was to cover 37.03 percent of the national population with a minimum average broadband speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps).

According to the factual findings submitted to the NTC, DITO reached 37.48 percent or 37,845,315 of the national population and covered a total of 8,860 barangays, which is higher than the committed coverage.

The reported minimum average broadband speed of DITO were at 85.9 Mbps (4G) and 507.5 Mbps (5G). The following speed were also registered based on the distance to the base station:

• Near the base station – 102.4 Mbps (4G) and 769.1 Mbps (5G)

• Middle point – 91.2 Mbps (4G) and 437.1 Mbps (5G)

• Far from the base station – 64.4 Mbps (4G) and 316.5 Mbps (5G)

DITO Telecommunity received its CPCN from NTC in July 2019 to operate as the third major telco.

DITO’s March 8 roll-out include areas in Metro Cebu (Carcar City, Cebu City, Consolacion, Danao City, Liloan, Mandaue City, Minglanilla, Naga City, San Fernando, Talisay City) and Metro Davao (Panabo City, Tagum City, Carmen, Davao City, Digos City).

Based on DITO’s commitment, their services as the new major player in the telco industry can be expected to be available nationwide by mid-2021.

“With DITO Telecommunity’s commercial rollout, we can expect another helpful pair of hands for nation-building. With the new player entering the field, we are determined to prove that we are leaders who deliver on their commitments, and we are confident that the Filipino people can sooner expect sustainable improvements in connectivity services moving forward,” Secretary Honasan stated.

According to Ookla’s January 2021 report, the Philippines moved up to the 86th spot in the global mobile internet speed rankings, a significant improvement from its 111th rank in the same period last 2020.

Likewise, the Ookla January 2021 results showed a 4.10% increase in speed from 31.44 Mbps (fixed broadband), and 14.53% from 22.50 Mbps (mobile).

“While recent data shows that the nation continues to improve its Internet speeds, it is only one factor in the national ICT agenda. We want to also pose the challenge of improving coverage, especially in rural and remote areas. We want to make connectivity as inclusive and far-reaching as possible—to ensure that many reap the benefits of the digital economy, and not just the chosen few,” Secretary Honasan explained.

“To do this, we are also ramping up of national connectivity efforts, including the National Broadband Program, Free Wi-Fi for All Program and Common Tower Initiative,” he added.