World Bank and the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) joint study revealed that Filipinos are paying one of the most costly but slowest internet connections in the world.
The study entitled “A Better Normal Under COVID-19: Digitalizing the Philippine Economy Now” showed the Philippines fell behind neighboring middle-income countries in terms of key indicators concerning Internet services.
The report said 57 percent or 12.2 million Filipino families still do not have access to the Internet while those who are connected suffer from slow download speeds.
The average mobile broadband download speed in the Philippines is only 16.76 megabytes per second (mbps). It is below the global average of 32.01 mbps.
The country’s 3G/4G mobile average download speed of 7 mbps is slower than the ASEAN average of 13.26 mbps.
When it comes to costs, the price of a fixed broadband plan in the country is close to similar packages in Thailand and Singapore, which have the fastest internet speeds in the region.
A 500 megabyte Internet service for prepaid, handset-based mobile broadband costs $6.3 per month in the Philippines. It is the fourth-highest in ASEAN after Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia.
World Bank: Filipinos pay more for expensive, slow internet
The World Bank and NEDA’s joint study of the slow and expensive internet in the country could be traced to a lack of digital infrastructure, outdated regulatory rules, and long-standing duopoly in the telecommunications industry.
The report also identified the limited foreign ownership of telecommunications, the lack of a national ID, underdeveloped payment infrastructure, and the low transaction account ownership resulting in the country’s problematic internet services.
Ndiame Diop, World Bank Country Director for the Philippines, also said that Internet connectivity in the Philippines is limited and weak in rural areas.
“Upgrading digital infrastructure all over the country will introduce fundamental changes that can improve social service delivery, enhance resilience against shocks, and create more economic opportunities for all Filipinos,” Diop said.
Kevin Chua, World Bank economist, meanwhile, said digital adoption is critical to attaining the Philippines’ goal to be a society free of poverty by 2040.