As she opened the hearing of the Senate public services panel on telco issues in the Philippines, Senator Grace Poe lamented the “sad state” of internet services in the Philippines, saying it is too slow, expensive and lacking.
“Due to the pandemic that led to our increased dependence on everything online – from the more essential activities like schooling, working, banking, and shopping to our social activities like talking to family and friends – we are now more painfully aware of the sad state of internet services in our country,” she said in her opening remarks.
“Sa nagdaang siyam na buwan, higit nating dama ang problema sa internet sa ating bansa,” according to Poe.
“Mabagal. The Philippines ranked 110 out of 174 countries in the speed test global index,” she said.
“Mahal. Telcos in the country are charging the fourth highest cost in ASEAN at about P315 per 500 megabytes of prepaid mobile connection which is almost at par with the internet cost in Singapore and Thailand kung saan ‘di hamak na mas maayos at mabilis ang kanilang internet,” Poe added.
“Kulang. Batay sa 2019 DICT National ICT Household Survey, halos 64 percent ng ating mga komunidad ang walang telco tower sa kanilang lugar,” she said.
“84 percent pa rin ng ating mga kabahayan ang walang internet access. 70 percent ng ating mga barangay ang walang fiber optic cables. At halos 88 percent ng ating mga barangay ang hindi pa rin naaabot ng free WiFi kahit na may Free Public WiFi law na tayo, ito’y batas na,” Poe said.
“The pandemic has indeed accelerated the demand for better and more inclusive internet service. Kung dati hindi ka lang makapag-social media tuwing walang internet, ngayon hindi ka na makakapasok sa klase o kaya makakapagtrabaho,” she said.
“At a time when everyone relies on the internet for survival in the view of the new normal, to keep the same status quo is criminal,” Poe said.