Manila Bulletin

PH lags be­hind in In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity – IDC

- By EDU LOPEZ Business · Tech Trends · Tech · Internet · Technology Industry · Industries · Philippines · International Data Corporation · Asia · Afghanistan · National Telecommunications Commission

De­spite the sus­tained growth in the in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try, the Philip­pines con­tin­ues to lag be­hind its neigh­bors when it comes to In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity.

IDC said that re­cent rank­ings on broad­band In­ter­net in Asia show the Philip­pines at the tail end of the list — only ahead of Afghanista­n.

One of the fac­tors that sets the coun­try back from get­ting bet­ter In­ter­net ser­vices is its archipelag­ic na­ture.

As the coun­try is com­posed of 7,107 is­lands, it is more chal­leng­ing for ISPs to build in­fra­struc­ture and pro­vide cus­tomers un­fail­ing In­ter­net con­nec­tion. The coun­try’s ge­o­graphic makeup im­pedes the ex­pan­sion of tele­com net­works to ru­ral ar­eas.

“Build­ing of In­ter­net in­fra­struc­ture in many prov­inces re­mains a work in progress be­cause from a telco stand­point, it can be costly and is a kind of in­vest­ment that may not nec­es­sar­ily prove to be lu­cra­tive, con­sid­er­ing the lower num­ber of data users in some ar­eas,” said Alon An­thony Re­jano, as­so­ciate mar­ket an­a­lyst, IDC Philip­pines.

To reach out and bring con­nec­tiv­ity to far-flung lo­ca­tions, TV white space (TVWS) is be­ing eyed as one of the so­lu­tions. TVWS is a wire­less data com­mu­ni­ca­tions stan­dard tech­nol­ogy that uses va­cant fre­quen­cies lo­cated be­tween broad­cast TV chan­nels to pro­vide wire­less data con­nec­tiv­ity to re­mote com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try.

The In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy Of­fice (ICTO) an­nounced its plans to de­ploy this wire­less data com­mu­ni­ca­tions stan­dard tech­nol­ogy, and pi­lot tests are cur­rently be­ing con­ducted.

In another move to ad­dress the coun­try’s slow In­ter­net, the Na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (NTC) signed a mem­o­ran­dum last Au­gust 13, set­ting the min­i­mum broad­band speed at 256Kbps.

The NTC also com­pelled ser­vice providers to dis­close to the public their av­er­age data rates per lo­ca­tion. Much has al­ready been dis­cussed about how this new reg­u­la­tion may af­fect the con­sumers. How­ever, it is also im­por­tant to look at its im­pli­ca­tions on the com­mer­cial space.

No or­ga­ni­za­tion in to­day’s cut­throat en­vi­ron­ment is im­mune from the dis­rup­tion brought about by the ev­er­chang­ing cus­tomer de­mands and the rise of the 3rd Plat­form tech­nolo­gies.

As the in­dus­try moves to­ward the dig­i­tal era, com­pa­nies are re­quir­ing higher amounts of band­width more than ever. For com­pa­nies to en­joy the full ben­e­fits of these new tech­nolo­gies, good In­ter­net con­nec­tion is an im­por­tant fac­tor.

IDC be­lieves that an im­proved In­ter­net con­nec­tion can make way for more bullish growth in the com­mer­cial ICT sec­tor.

In the com­mer­cial space, the new reg­u­la­tion on min­i­mum In­ter­net speed may af­fect small of­fices and home of­fices (SOHOs) but is not likely to have any sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on medium-sized busi­nesses and en­ter­prises.

In­ter­net sub­scrip­tions of medi­um­sized busi­nesses and en­ter­prises would typ­i­cally in­volve a com­mit­ted in­for­ma­tion rate (CIR), which al­ready serves as the min­i­mum speed that an ISP is com­pelled to pro­vide them based on the ser­vice-level agree­ment (SLA) be­tween the two par­ties.

SOHOs, on the other hand, would usu­ally opt for con­sumer­tar­geted In­ter­net sub­scrip­tions that do not in­volve CIR and SLA. There­fore, they are the ones that are most likely to be af­fected by the min­i­mum In­ter­net speed.

While there are some back­lash on the min­i­mum speed set from tech­nol­ogy lob­by­ists who ar­gue that a min­i­mum speed of 256Kbps is still too low, IDC be­lieves that this is al­ready a good move to­ward ef­fect­ing change in the coun­try’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try.

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