DITO Telecommunity to miss July 8 deadline to offer 27 mbps internet service: ex-DICT official

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2020 05:37 PM

DITO Telecommunity to miss July 8 deadline to offer 27 mbps internet service: ex-DICT official 1
DITO Telecommunications and Udenna Corporation headquarters in Taguig City on February 20, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File Photo

MANILA - DITO Telecommunity, the Philippines' third telco, is poised to miss its commitment to deliver internet service at speeds of 27 megabits per second (Mbps) covering 37 percent of the country by next week, a former Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) official said Wednesday.

As of July 1, only 300 towers operated by DITO is "live," its chief administrative officer Adel Tamano told the Senate Committe on Public Services.

The number is only about 20 percent of DITO's promised 1,600 cell towers by July 8.

"July 8 is the first strike," said former DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio, who helped craft the deal with DITO.

"If they (DITO) fail to have that during the technical audit by July 8, they are given 6 months to satisfy their commitment up to the end of the year," he said.

If they fail to honor the commitment, DITO will have to forfeit the P25.7-billion performance bond it paid the government, he said.

Tamano said that the third telco is "doing its best" to complete the requirement.

DITO is in the process of building 1,300 cell towers, but the "full roll out" of internet services was delayed by the community quarantine meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Tamano said.

By the end of the year, DITO expects to have 2,000 cell towers, which is "enough" to provide the promised 27 mbps internet service to at least 37 percent of the country, he said.

Under the deal, DITO is entitled to avail of 2 grace periods should they miss the year-long deadline.

"As far as I know, they have not requested for any postponement of that commitment," Rio said.

In January, before COVID-19 became a global pandemic, DITO said it was ready to roll out telco service by July.

Aside from its initial 27 mbps commitment, DITO also guaranteed that it could offer 55 mbps of internet speed for at least 84 percent of the population within 5 years.