The Philippine’s average Internet speeds continues to surge upward, as reported by global monitoring firm Ookla Speedtest. For May 2021, fixed broadband speed was recorded at 58.73 megabits per second (Mbps) while mobile speed was at 31.97 Mbps, translating to an improvement of 19.1 percent for fixed broadband and 9.8 percent for mobile internet speeds, as compared to last April 2021 (49.31 Mbps for fixed broadband; 29.12 Mbps for mobile).  With the recent Ookla report, the Philippines climbed the rankings to the 65th spot (up from 84th) out of 180 countries in fixed broadband, and 77th spot (up from 80th) out of 137 countries in mobile.

“We recognize and laud the initiatives and tireless efforts of the members of the telecommunications and information service industries and the public sector in fostering and accelerating digital connectivity in the country.  The continuing challenge, especially in this time of COVID-19 crisis, is to provide both connectivity and quality of service to the people.  To meet that challenge, we all need to unite, cooperate, engage, and work together—the industry, the national and local government, and the entire nation.  The report shows good improvement, but so much more needs to be done,” DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II said.  “Your Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) assures the public that we will continue to strengthen our connectivity programs to boost Internet quality and coverage in the country, especially in the remote and far-flung areas.” He added.

According to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the recent upward surge can be credited to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive back in July 2020 for telecommunications companies to improve their services amid the ongoing pandemic. The President also highlighted the need for a more efficient processing of Local Government Unit (LGU) permits to fast-track the rollout of cellular towers.

The DICT collaborated with other agencies in streamlining permitting process for the deployment of cell towers and other ICT infrastructures in line with Section 4 (ii) of Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act and the DICT’s Common Tower Policy under Department Circular No. 008, s. 2021. The DICT and NTC also continue to engage with the Telcos and Internet service providers (ISPs), and monitor their performance to ensure compliance with the President’s directive.