Fasttracked cell tower permits boost internet speed

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    Industry experts have attributed the improved internet speed to record numbers in December 2020 to the significant increase in the permits to build cell site towers to telecommunications companies by local government units.

    Observers said it takes three to four months to construct a tower, which means the towers that became fully operational last December have greatly contributed to the increase in the country’s internet speeds, which is expected to be sustained in the coming months as the roll-out of telecommunications infrastructure is fast-tracked further.

    The Department of Information and Communications Technology earlier reported that it utilized around 93.89 percent of its Free Wi-Fi for All Program budget for 2019 to put up 4,305 live sites last year, more than double the total number of sites deployed throughout the country from 2016 to 2019.

    Data showed in November 2020, at least 1,054 construction permits were issued, bringing the total number of permits approved to 4,644 since July 2020, an average of 929 permits per month. This came after President Duterte last August issued an order to LGUs to speed up the process of issuing permits or face sanctions.

    The data showed combined number of towers built by Globe, Smart and DITO over a five-month period ending in November totaled 2,510, or an average of 502 towers per month. Overall, the country has 22,405 cell towers as of last November.

    Internet connection in the Philippines rose to record levels in December 2020, according to the latest data from Ookla, a web service that provides free analysis of internet access performance metrics.

    A 297.47 percent improvement on the Philippines’ internet average download speed for fixed broadband was indicated in an Ookla December 2020 report, compared to July 2016 speeds. In the same data, there was a massive increase of 202.41 percent for mobile broadband.

    The Philippines’ download speed for fixed broadband improved from 7.91 Mbps (July 2016) to 31.44 Mbps (December 2020), while average download speed for mobile broadband also improved from 7.44 Mbps to 22.50 Mbps in the same stretch.

    The monthly increase in speed of 4Mbps for mobile from November to December was the highest monthly since July 2016.