Filipinos can expect faster internet access by September 16 this year if telecommunications companies deliver on their promise to improve their services, the Department of Information, Communications and Technology (DICT) said Tuesday.
“They [telecommunications companies]promised me, September 16. I will simply follow it up and hope that by September 16, we have a fast Internet,” Information Secretary Rodolfo Salalima said in a news conference in Malacañang.
He said Filipinos deserve faster internet service because the Philippines is one of the countries with the highest number of internet users.
Salalima also agreed with the President’s plan to open up the country’s telecommunications sector to more players if local providers will not improve their services.
“Tama naman si Presidente (The President is right) because even under Executive Order 7925, which took effect in March 1995, the country is free for anyone to enter as a third, a fourth or a fifth party operator,” he said.
“Get a third party operator with a big local component and a very big partner from abroad because they have to have deep pockets to compete with the duopoly, so we are open,” he added.
The Philippines has among the slowest internet speeds in the world. The DICT’s National Broadband Plan, approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, seeks to change this.
Part of the plan, to be implemented from 2017 to 2027, is to provide internet access points to remote rural areas. The goal is to provide connections of at least 10 Mbps to subscribers by 2020.
Salalima said the DICT will ask the President to sign an executive order (EO) for local government units to speed up the processing of permits for the construction and operation of cell sites.
If this is implemented, he said telecommunication companies will be able to put up more cell sites and allow more people to access the internet.
Salalima said Vietnam has 70,000 cell sites while the Philippines has only 16,000 mainly because of the arduous process of getting permits.
Some local government units require up to 25 permits for the setting up of one cell site.