Faster internet speeds and robust telecommunications systems should be a priority of the next administration, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. said.
In the open forum portion of the Asia CEO Talks at Marriott Hotel on Wednesday, Marcos noted that telecommunications has made all economies a part of the global marketplace.
“It was five or six years ago when the volume of commerce conducted on the internet surpassed the volume of commerce conducted face to face in stores, in malls and all of our more traditional ways of buying and selling. That is something that we must immediately recognize,” Marcos said.
With these changes in global commerce, he said the next administration should adopt a mindset where telecommunications, especially the Internet, is part of the Philippines' essential infrastructure.
Marcos noted that the Philippines ranks among countries with the slowest and most expensive Internet services in the world.
According to a study on consumer Internet speeds, as of May 2015, the Philippines had the second slowest average download speed among 22 Asian countries, next only to war-torn Afghanistan.
Internet metrics provider Ookla found that the Philippines averaged a download speed of just 3.64 megabytes per second (Mbps), which ranked 176th out of 202 countries worldwide.
The global average broadband download speed of 23.3 Mbps is nearly eight times faster than in the Philippines.
“How are we supposed to conduct business on this basis? You and I all know that when it comes to a point where there is no Wi-Fi, we don't quite know what to do with ourselves because we have to keep that line of communication going,” Marcos said.
“It's simply something that we have not paid attention to and it is something that is weakening the ability of our businessmen to conduct business in this global marketplace,” he added.
Marcos said the Philippines can learn from the best practices of other countries and adopt policies that proved successful in providing better Internet service.
“The technologies exist, the skills that are required exist, and it is just a question of us taking on the policy and the concept that this is important and an essential service. It's not a luxury, it's not for fun because this is the way that business is conducted in this day and age,” Marcos said.