Internet in the Philippines slowest in ASEAN

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Internet statsThe Philippines has the slowest average Internet broadband speed in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the crowd-sourced Net Index rankings by internet broadband testing company Ookla, The Inquirer reported.

The Philippines telecommunications industry is dominated by two major companies, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone company (PLDT) group, headed by Manuel Pangilinan, who owns Smart Communications, Sun Cellular, and Cignal Digital TV, and the Globe group, headed by the Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II, who also own Bayantel.

These telcos build their own infrastructure from international undersea cable connection sites to the network of cellular towers scattered throughout the country. At present, PLDT has four connections to international cables while Globe has two giving the whole country a 2 terabit per second connection to the rest of the world.

In comparison, Indonesia has nine connections to international undersea cables, Malaysia has seven, Singapore has six, Thailand has three, while Brunei, Vietnam, and Myanmar each have two. Cambodia has one international undersea cable connection while Laos, as a landlocked country, has none.

Globe Vice-President for Broadband Product Development and Management, Francisco Fernando Claravall IV, said that the primary cause of slow internet is congestion within the national network.

“When you build internet infrastructure, you anticipate a certain amount of traffic that will flow,” Claravall said. “In the internet, there is always the concept of peak and non-peak, like weekends and weekdays. The behaviors of people are different too, some are constantly connected while others only connect once in a while.”

“There will be a point where your pipes will not be able to handle the amount [of connections], it means that the usual flow of traffic will be slower than the usual. So you have to take into account the capacity you’ve built, the behaviors of the people that use the service, and the frequency that they use it,” he said.

According to data from the World Bank, fixed or household broadband internet subscribers in the Philippines rose from 0.11 per cent in 2004 to 2.61 per cent in 2013. The percentage of internet users had also risen from 5.2 per cent in 2004 to 37 per cent in 2013. The greatest rise in internet users was from 2009 to 2010, a jump of 16 percentage points.

Claravall pointed to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets that added to the number of computer devices connecting to the internet unlike in the past where one fixed broadband subscription equals to one desktop computer.

“Now a typical household can have three tablets and two smartphones. So many more are connecting and the activity ratio of your home connection has gone up, which introduces a lot of traffic on the network. That’s already a reality today,” Claravall said.

The main challenge is in the Philippines’ archipelagic nature which creates constraints in the expansion of telcos’ networks to the provinces and municipalities far away from the main urban centers.

Building the infrastructure to provide connectivity to the far-flung areas is very expensive while the rural market may not provide sufficient revenues for the telcos.

Edgardo Cabarios, Director of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Regulation Branch, said “there is a problem in national connectivity. The problem is price, especially in the regions outside of Metro Manila because they are far from where the majority of connections are. The cost of the infrastructure to give them connectivity [is high],” he said.

Cabarios pointed out that Singapore continues to lead in internet connectivity in the entire Southeast Asian region because it is a small country making the cost of infrastructure very low.

“Same with Thailand because its just one big landmass.” “We are 7,107 islands, its very difficult [to build infrastructure] and the cost is really very high. Compared to these three, we will have difficulty catching up,” he said.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Philippines has the slowest average Internet broadband speed in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the crowd-sourced Net Index rankings by internet broadband testing company Ookla, The Inquirer reported.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Internet statsThe Philippines has the slowest average Internet broadband speed in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the crowd-sourced Net Index rankings by internet broadband testing company Ookla, The Inquirer reported.

The Philippines telecommunications industry is dominated by two major companies, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone company (PLDT) group, headed by Manuel Pangilinan, who owns Smart Communications, Sun Cellular, and Cignal Digital TV, and the Globe group, headed by the Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II, who also own Bayantel.

These telcos build their own infrastructure from international undersea cable connection sites to the network of cellular towers scattered throughout the country. At present, PLDT has four connections to international cables while Globe has two giving the whole country a 2 terabit per second connection to the rest of the world.

In comparison, Indonesia has nine connections to international undersea cables, Malaysia has seven, Singapore has six, Thailand has three, while Brunei, Vietnam, and Myanmar each have two. Cambodia has one international undersea cable connection while Laos, as a landlocked country, has none.

Globe Vice-President for Broadband Product Development and Management, Francisco Fernando Claravall IV, said that the primary cause of slow internet is congestion within the national network.

“When you build internet infrastructure, you anticipate a certain amount of traffic that will flow,” Claravall said. “In the internet, there is always the concept of peak and non-peak, like weekends and weekdays. The behaviors of people are different too, some are constantly connected while others only connect once in a while.”

“There will be a point where your pipes will not be able to handle the amount [of connections], it means that the usual flow of traffic will be slower than the usual. So you have to take into account the capacity you’ve built, the behaviors of the people that use the service, and the frequency that they use it,” he said.

According to data from the World Bank, fixed or household broadband internet subscribers in the Philippines rose from 0.11 per cent in 2004 to 2.61 per cent in 2013. The percentage of internet users had also risen from 5.2 per cent in 2004 to 37 per cent in 2013. The greatest rise in internet users was from 2009 to 2010, a jump of 16 percentage points.

Claravall pointed to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets that added to the number of computer devices connecting to the internet unlike in the past where one fixed broadband subscription equals to one desktop computer.

“Now a typical household can have three tablets and two smartphones. So many more are connecting and the activity ratio of your home connection has gone up, which introduces a lot of traffic on the network. That’s already a reality today,” Claravall said.

The main challenge is in the Philippines’ archipelagic nature which creates constraints in the expansion of telcos’ networks to the provinces and municipalities far away from the main urban centers.

Building the infrastructure to provide connectivity to the far-flung areas is very expensive while the rural market may not provide sufficient revenues for the telcos.

Edgardo Cabarios, Director of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Regulation Branch, said “there is a problem in national connectivity. The problem is price, especially in the regions outside of Metro Manila because they are far from where the majority of connections are. The cost of the infrastructure to give them connectivity [is high],” he said.

Cabarios pointed out that Singapore continues to lead in internet connectivity in the entire Southeast Asian region because it is a small country making the cost of infrastructure very low.

“Same with Thailand because its just one big landmass.” “We are 7,107 islands, its very difficult [to build infrastructure] and the cost is really very high. Compared to these three, we will have difficulty catching up,” he said.

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