Have you grown irate from the arguably slow Internet in the Philippines? Unless you are really patient, you certainly know the sluggish connection speeds in our land.
Want to watch a video? Expect your favorite buffer sign. Finding a location in Waze? Surprise! You just passed it two blocks ago. Is it raining? Expect the bandwidth to get flushed out with the water. And don’t even get me started with Facetime! Even instant messages have delays. Oh, the irony!
As we get more connected, the modern age demands more bandwidth in our society, especially in the Philippines.
The Philippines is deemed the social media capital of the world. According to statistics, we have a 58% social media penetration (61 Million users) compared to 40% average in the Asia-Pacific. Of this, we are number one in terms of times spent in social media averaging 4H 17min per user.
And as a humorous plot twist, we also have one of the most expensive and slowest Internet in the world. We rank as one of the slowest in the Asia Pacific in terms of average speed with 5.5 Mbps per second. Quite far from the 7.7mbps world average.
Slow Internet, Slow Businesses, Slow Growth
Not only does slow Internet affect our digital leisure, but also our economy. The slacken Internet can bring lower income to businesses. It can frustrate your employees to perform poorly affecting your bottom line.
If you have clients from abroad, download speeds might hinder file transfers for partnership projects. It takes days just to download files. This lost time translates to lost profitability. Jack Ma even regarded PH Internet as “no good”.
Government Partners with Facebook
Last November 15, 2017, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) announced the inked partnership between Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the Department of Information and Communications (DICT), and Facebook to remedy this problem.
This is in line with Republic Act No. 10929 which aims to provide free Internet access at:
- National and Local Government Offices
- Public basic education institutions
- State universities and colleges, and TESDA technology institutions
- Public Hospitals, health centers, and rural health units
- Public parks, plazas, libraries, and barangay reading centers
- Public airport and seaports
- Public transport terminals
Dubbed as the “Strategic Engagement and Collaboration to Undertake a Reliable and Efficient Government Internet project (SECURE GovNet)”,< the Government will build a Luzon Bypass Infrastructure to sway away from the Luzon Strait.
It is necessary to bypass this route because the Luzon strait pathway causes a bottleneck in data transfers. This is evident by the multiple cable breaks that continuously happen in this passage.
The joint venture will construct stations in Poro Point, La Union and Baler, Aurora as connection points. Facebook will build a submarine cable system to directly connect the United States to Asia.
The bypass will cause a more stable and interruption-free data line.
Benefits to All Parties
For Facebook, the project is their gateway to Asia. After the connection of these lines, Facebook will save significant costs from different line transfers.
As for the Philippines, the project will provide an additional 2 Million MBPS (2 TBPS) bandwidth to the consumers. This amounts to the almost all the combined bandwidth (2.3 TBPS) of the two large Telcos in the Philippines. It effectively doubled the data speed our country can use.
With this supply, the government aims to improve the speed, affordability, and accessibility of broadband Internet across the archipelago.
These undergoing has the potential to boost up our average Internet speeds to 100 MBPS!
As the contract moves, the BCDA will build the facility and DICT will operate it for the next 25 years.
Aren’t you excited?? Goodbye, expensive Telcos!
You have to hold your digital horses though. We still have to be patient. The estimated completion date of these lines is at the end of 2019.
For now, let us be contented with what we have. Meditate with me.
Patience. *Breathe* Patience.