MANILA--The Philippines needs to drastically improve its technology infrastructure to help Filipinos connect online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an official of the Department of Information and Communications Technology said Saturday.
"Telecommunication infrastructure natin ay talagang kulang na kulang pa sa ngayon. We need more cell sites, we need more fiber to the homes," DICT Usec. Eliseo Rio Jr., head of the department's operations divison, said in an interview on radio DZMM.
Rio said common tower providers eased the DICT's worries in addressing the lack of cell sites in the country.
"So 'yung mga cell sites, for example, meron na tayong mga common tower provider na gumagawa ng cell sites. Dati, 'yung telecom [companies] ang gumagawa ng cell sites. Ngayon, meron na tayong common tower provider," he said.
The official said small players, or small internet service providers (ISPs) have played a big role in providing internet connectivity to households throughout the country.
"Sila ay nakakapaglatag ng linya papunta sa mga bahay, at ito ay binibigyan natin ng incentive para mas madaming bahay ang malatagan nila," he said.
Rio explained that internet connectivity in the Philippines is largely dependent on mobile infrastructure, which often leads to slow internet connection.
"Kahit nasa loob ka ng bahay o opisina, ay du'n pa rin tayo sa cell sites naka-connect. Kita niyo magkakaroon ng congestion talaga," he said.
The DICT chief assured that his department is "focused" on fixing and building the technology infrastructure in the country to help Filipinos communicate amid the lockdown placed in parts of the country.
In 2019, a study reported that the Philippines' average mobile and fixed-line internet speeds still fall below the global average.
Speedtest Global Index had said that in terms of mobile internet speed, the Philippines ranks 103rd among 139 surveyed countries.