Senate probe on status of PH internet connectivity amid ‘skyrocketing’ demand pushed
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Lito Lapid is pushing for a Senate investigation into the status of the Philippines’ internet connectivity in the wake of the country’s shift to the “new normal” triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Lapid sought the investigation through Senate Resolution No. 414, which directs the appropriate committee to “conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the status of the country’s internet connectivity, speed, bandwidth capacity, and other relevant parameters.”
He said it was “imperative” to determine the “actual state” of the country’s internet connectivity in order to “properly re-calibrate our laws and policies in response to the possible skyrocketing of demand and number of users in the coming months.”
“Ang internet ang magiging bagong puhunan ngayon ng mga opisina, negosyo at paaralan para makapagpatuloy sila ng maayos ng operasyon sa harap pa rin ng krisis dulot ng COVID-19,” the senator said in a statement on Tuesday.
(The internet will become the new capital of offices, businesses, and schools so they can continue to operate in the wake of the crisis brought about COVID-19).
This, according to Lapid, is the reason it is important to know the status of the condition of the country’s internet connectivity.
Lapid noted that the Philippines has “not fared well” in terms of internet speed as compared to other countries.
The senator pointed out that even during Senate “hybrid” plenary sessions, there have been times when they experienced erratic and slow internet connection.
He cited an April 2020 Speed Test Global Index where the Philippine ranked 121st out of 139 countries in terms of mobile internet speed.
On the aspect of fixed broadband connection speed, the country placed 110 out of 174 countries, he added.
“Talagang nakakadismaya ang internet service dito sa Pilipinas lalo na kung ikukumpara sa mga kalapit ng bansa na malayo na ang narating pagdating sa aspetong ito. Isa sa mga tinitignang dahilan ng napakabagal nating internet ay dahil sa kakulangan ng imprastruktura para mapabilis at mapalakas ang connectivity,” Lapid said.
(It’s truly frustrating that the internet service here in the Philippine, especially in comparison with neighboring countries, which have stepped up in terms of this aspect. One of the things being looked at as the reason for slow internet connection is the lack of infrastructure).
Lapid pointed to the 2019 data compiled by Tower Xchange, an independent community for the global tower industry, which showed that there are only at least 17, 850 cell sites in the Philippines, in comparison to the over 90,000 cell sites in Vietnam.
“Isa itong bagay na dapat matalakay naming mga mambabatas para mahanapan ng solusyon dahil hindi lang naman ngayon kakailanganin ang mabilis na internet connection. Itinuturing na ito na sa mga pangunahing pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayang hanggang sa hinaharap,” he added.
(This is one of the topics that should be tackled by lawmakers so that we can find solutions because it is not only now that we need a fast internet connection. The internet is now being considered as one of the primary needs of Filipinos)
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