DICT bullish about better internet services

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    The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is optimistic internet connectivity in the country will improve in the coming months with strengthened government programs and the third telco’s nationwide rollout by mid-2021.

    Gregorio Honasan II, DICT secretary, said the agency is continuously coordinating with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in monitoring the rollout plans of all telecom players, following the directives of President Duterte to improve their services amid the new normal.

    Dito Telecommunity Corp. has commercially launched its mobile services last March 8, initially in 15 key cities in Metro Cebu and Davao. Its services are expected to be available nationwide by midyear based on its commitment with the government.

    Honasan expressed hope Filipinos can sooner expect sustainable improvements in connectivity services moving forward.

    Last month, NTC reported Dito passed the technical audit conducted by independent auditor R.G. Manabat & Co. in fulfillment of its commitments for its first year of rollout.

    Dito’s first year commitments, as indicated in its certificate of public convenience and necessity, was to cover 37.03 percent of the national population with a minimum average broadband speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps).

    According to the findings submitted to NTC, Dito reached 37.48 percent or 37.8 million of the national population and covered a total of 8,860 barangays, which is higher than the committed coverage.

    The reported minimum average broadband speed of Dito was 85.9 Mbps for the fourth generation (4G) network and 507.5 Mbps for 5G.

    According to Ookla’s January 2021 report, the Philippines moved up to the 86th spot in the global mobile internet speed rankings, a significant improvement from its 111th rank in the same period in 2020.

    The Ookla January 2021 results also showed a 4.10 percent increase in speed from 31.44 Mbps for fixed broadband and 14.53 percent from 22.50 Mbps for mobile.

    Beyond these, Honasan said DICT aims to improve coverage, especially in rural and remote areas “to make connectivity as inclusive and far-reaching as possible” – to ensure that “many reap the benefits of the digital economy, and not just the chosen few.”

    To do this, the DICT is ramping up national connectivity efforts, including the National Broadband Program, Free Wi-Fi for All Program and Common Tower Initiative.