According to a recent study by the Global Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), the number of 5G connections worldwide will reach 400 million in the next three years.
While the Philippines is one country that still lags behind its regional neighbors in terms of fast internet connectivity, it is now gearing up for large-scale projects that support what its new leader sees as Digital Philippines.
The latest data provided by the GSMA shows that the Philippines is making progress in 5G compared to its regional neighbors. Using data from Speedtest Intelligence, Singapore topped its regional neighbors in average 5G download speeds, recording 246.01 in the first quarter of this year, while the Philippines recorded an average download speed of 163.51 Mbps. It also showed that LTE performance in the country improved from 11.15 Mbps in the first quarter of 2021 to 15.53 Mbps in the same period of 2022.
Despite improvements in internet connectivity, the country still sees some serious challenges, including a growing digital divide among Filipinos.
In light of the country’s recent political transition, how does it plan to bridge this gap as it moves forward toward a more innovative future?
The purpose of the president to Digitize tPhilippines, bridging the digital divide
During his first State of the Nation Address, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. emphasized his goal to digitize the country, including government processes, as well as provide universal connectivity. It’s part of his plans to boost the digital economy as a way to spur economic recovery after the pandemic.
The latest data from Statista.com shows that as of February this year, there were 79.6 million Internet users in the Philippines, accounting for 72.7% of Internet users.
The President noted in his speech: “As the world moves towards rapid digitalization, the digital divide will widen. The depth and breadth to which these technologies will transform our lives is entirely predictable.”
He said he has sought the help of the country’s ICT chief to roll out digital connectivity in the country’s various islands.
In response, DICT Secretary Ivan John Wee told a local news agency that areas underserved by telecommunications companies will be covered by satellite internet provided by SpaceX’s Starlink, and its availability is expected by the end of this year.
President Marcos further noted, “All appropriate forms of digital transportation should be used. This can be through a combination of terrestrial or underwater fiber optic communications, wireless communications and even satellite technologies.”
Marcos added that they will address the connectivity issues by implementing two government priority measures, including the shared tower plan that will allow telecom and internet service providers to share towers. And another is the National Broadband Plan, which aims to accelerate the development of the Philippines’ network infrastructure.
He said the Philippines cannot simply “stand idly by” in the face of the scale and speed at which all these technological changes are happening around the world.
Local Telecom aICT operators promise to support the government’s plans
President Marcos’ plans have been welcomed by major telecommunications operators and representatives of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, who have expressed their support and commitment to the new administration’s goal of having a more innovative and technologically advanced economy.
Among them is the PLDT group, which has expressed its willingness to cooperate with the presidential economic growth road map. In a statement, PLDT and Smart President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio said, “We support the government’s commitment to unite our countrymen and ensure that no Filipino is left behind as the world becomes more digital.”
He added: “We are also ready to help the government’s digitization efforts, furthering its vision of a flexible bureaucracy that responds to the needs of the public.”
In line with President Marcos’ aim to use digital solutions to streamline government services in all government agencies across the country, PLDT Group also said it continues to expand the reach and capacity of its fiber optic infrastructure, which now allows fiber to the home. services will be extended to mountainous areas of the country.
It also continues to invest in its network, with 518.5 billion pesos spent over the past decade through 2021. Most of the 89 billion pesos spent for 2021 was for grid-related projects. The capital expenditure forecast for this year is 85 billion pesos.
Meanwhile, PLDT Group’s main competitor in the industry, Globe Telecoms, also echoed the same response to the new Philippine leader’s call for a digital economy.
The company reiterated its support for the government’s goal to digitize government processes and ensure universal connectivity across the country.
Globe President and CEO Ernest Koo said, “The administration can rely on Globe’s full range of digital solutions, from new technologies offered by our core telecommunications business to our portfolio companies in fintech, medical technology, education technology, etc. to provide innovative services to make digitization and communication goals a reality.”
The CEO and co-founder of Converge ICT Solutions also pledged his support for the government’s plans for universal connectivity. Dennis Wee said in a statement: “We are delighted that the new administration is prioritizing universal connectivity, especially at this critical time when digitization is at the heart of everything we do. Converge supports this initiative as we fight for digital democracy in the Philippines.”
Converge boasts a nationwide fiber-to-fiber network deployment that now reaches 12 million homes as of the first four months of this year. As of March, 645,000 fiber optic ports were installed in the country.
https://www.retailnews.asia/how-the-philippines-is-heading-towards-a-digital-future/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-the-philippines-is-heading-towards-a-digital-future How the Philippines is moving towards a digital future