DICT urges Duterte to 'intensify push' for better telco service

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2021 02:58 PM

A cellular site tower in Caloocan City on Aug. 06, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte must "intensify the push" for telecommunications firms to improve their services even after their gains last year, the Department of Information and Communications Technology said on Thursday. 

Duterte had in July last year told telcos to "improve the services before December" or risk expropriation or shutdown, as demand for better connection rose with greater use of online services because of the pandemic lockdown. 

From that month until December 2020, the fixed download speed improved by 25.4 percent, while the mobile download speed increased by 32.7 percent, said Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque.

The country's average download speed in fixed broadband ranked 29 out of 50 countries in Asia, he told reporters in an online briefing.

DICT Undersecretary Manny Caintic attributed this to "an increase in tower rollout."

"Ang challenge natin (our challenge now) would still be the fiber rollout," he said, referring to the hardware that allows more stable connection.

The DICT, he said, urges Duterte "to continue that firm stance and push for the telcos." 

"Our efficacy sa gov't, hindi naman tayo nagkulang ng pagbigay ng suporta sa ating mga telecoms company. We should not lessen our pressure on them. In fact we should even intensify the push," said Caintic.

(We did not come up short in supporting our telecoms companies.)

"But at the same time, we should do our best, as government also, to alleviate iyong problema sa mga (problems with the) permits," he said. 

The DICT is looking at a joint memorandum circular "for easing up and regularizing the permits needed for the fiber [connections]," Caintic said. 

Roque said he would relay these recommendations to the President next Monday.

Duterte has been pushing for better internet service in the country, ushering in the entry of the third telco, DITO Telecommunity.

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