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Filipinos deserve world-class internet service, Palace tells telcos

Filipinos are entitled to a “world-class” internet service, Malacañang said Tuesday, as the Philippines remains lagging behind neighboring countries in terms of speed.

According to the National Telecommunications Commission, the Philippines ranked 32nd out of 50 Asian countries based on the Speedtest Global Index for fixed broadband as October this year. The country placed 34th for mobile internet speed.

Southeast Asian neighbors such as Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam fared better than the Philippines.

“Hindi naman po inggrato ang sambayanan at hindi po natin binabalewala iyong mga naging improvement. Pero sa totoo lang po, ang ninanais po ng ating mga kababayan ay hindi lang po na mag-improve; ninanais din po ng ating mga kababayan iyong ninanais ng Globe at saka ng Smart na maging world-class,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a news conference.

“Tapatan lang po tayo, at number 34 in Asia, I don’t think we are world class,” he added.

During the briefing, representatives from Smart, Globe, DITO Telecommunity, and Converge ICT Solutions gave updates on the steps taken to improve their services including building thousands of new cell sites.

Smart president Al Panlilio acknowledged that “we can still get better and we should get better for our Filipino customers.”

“I think, a Korea may be too far because masyadong advanced sila, but to me, maybe if we can be at par, I think, with Vietnam and Thailand, that is the benchmark that PLDT-Smart is aiming for,” he said.

Globe president Ernest Cu, meanwhile, took exception to claims about poor broadband services.

“I don’t think it’s a lousy service. Because if that is a lousy service, I don’t think the examples that you heard today na Zoom meet is going through, the country’s BPO [business process outsourcing] industry flourishing and people watching Netflix and YouTube and Facebooking to their heart’s content will be happening,” he said.

“I think it's really just patience, we just need to continue to build.”

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier threatened to shut down Smart and Globe if they failed to improve their services by this month. The government, however, expedited the approval of permits necessary for the construction of cell sites.

“Aside from the permits, siyempre naayos na, we also have a very challenging topography in this country...our islands are very difficult to cover with fiber,” Cu said.

“It takes a hybrid of government and private sector investment to be able to really bring about fiber everywhere in this country.”—AOL, GMA News