DICT urged to lower cost, improve speed of Internet

September 9, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 566 views

THE House leadership on Friday asked the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to lower the cost of Internet subscription and increase Internet speed for Filipino consumers.

“The pandemic has shown us that the Internet has become a vital element in our lives—from food orders and medical consultations to online classes and businesses to entertainment. Halos lahat ng aspeto ng buhay natin ay online na,” House Committee on Appropriations Chairman and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co said.

“I am sure DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy will do everything in his power to ensure lower cost and faster speed for the country’s growing Internet users,” Co said at the hearing of DICT’s proposed 2023 budget of P7.32 billion.

As of January 2021, an estimated 74 million Filipinos are digitally connected.

“The huge number of Filipinos online should inspire our DICT and Internet service providers (ISPs) to improve the service and Internet speed that our kababayans receive,” Co said.

The House Committee on Appropriations chairman noted that at the macro level, Internet connectivity is also vital to the country’s survival and growth.

“Ang kaunlaran ng ating bansa ay naka-angkla sa mura at maaasahang Internet service. In fact our very survival as a globally competitive nation is dependent upon our ability to establish a viable digital network,” Co said.

“We must have a competitive digital network. We hope that this 2023, we will be closer to having a digital network that is at par with our Asian competitors, or at the very least, comparable in price and performance to our ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] neighbors,” Co said.

The ranking House official instructed the DICT to look into the performance of the three ISPs operating in the country.

“We had envisioned that a third competitor in the telecommunications sector would create a vigorous and real competition between the three networks, and our countrymen will finally get lower Internet costs and higher service reliability,” Co said.

“It has been more than a year since our country had three telecoms providers, and we have yet to see an improvement in the cost of Internet and service reliability,” he added.

The three biggest ISPs in the Philippines are Smart, Globe, and the newcomer Dito.

The DICT has formulated and is implementing its CHIP (Connect, Harness, Innovate and Protect) Conceptual Framework. DICT’s roadmap to accelerating the building of the National Digital Infrastructure – CHIP identifies the means and strategies that allow the country to take full advantage of the global digital economy.

“We recognize DICT’s efforts, including the International Cable Landing Systems, the National Fibre Backbone, the National Government Data Centre, and its other programs, to improve our connectivity,” Co said.

At the same time, the House Committee on Appropriations examined Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) proposed 2023 budget that includes P500 million for its new building to be constructed in the Mall of Asia (MOA) area in Pasay City.

As Comelec prepares for the nationwide Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on December 5 this year, it is asking for P4.987 billion for its budget next year. Salaries constitute the largest expense (P3.533 billion) in the proposed 2023 Comelec budget.

Co lauded Comelec for its conduct of the simultaneous presidential and local elections last May 10, 2022.

Comelec Chairman George Erwin M. Garcia led the poll body to present its budget to the House body.