Fixed broadband speed improves

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    The Philippines’ average download speed for fixed broadband has improved in March this year versus the previous month, but mobile broadband slightly dipped, according to the Ookla Speedtest Global Index.

    In a statement, Ookla said fixed broadband speed in the country improved by 20.25 percent to 46.25 megabits per second (Mbps) in March, from 38.46 Mbps last February.

    The fixed broadband speed increased by almost sixfold – the highest since the beginning of the Duterte administration when download speed was at 7.91 Mbps in July 2016.

    On the other hand, mobile network overall performance slightly dipped as the country yielded an average download speed of 25.43 Mbps last month, from 26.24 Mbps last February.

    Still, the current mobile network performance represents an increase of 242 percent from the 7.44 Mbps recorded back in July 2016.

    Improvements in the country’s internet speeds were noted following President Duterte’s directive last July to expedite the facilitation of local government unit permits in relation to building cellular towers. Since then, there has been a significant increase in permits issued from July 2020 to March 2021.

    Last March 8, DITO Telecommunity Corp. started its commercial rollout in key areas in the Visayas and Mindanao. The country’s third major telecom player targets its operations to be felt in Metro Manila by mid-2021.

    Further improvement in internet speed is expected as telco market competition intensifies with DITO’s entry.

    The telcos’ performance is being closely monitored after the President agreed that improvements in telecom services need to be maintained and the country’s internet speed to be eventually at par with its Southeast Asian neighbors.

    Incumbent telcos PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. have earmarked huge capital expenditures (capex) for this year amounting to P90 billion and P70 billion, respectively.

    The higher capex will be used for the expansion of their fixed and mobile networks. – Myla Iglesias