NTC starts bi-monthly meetings with telcos to further improve internet speed
In the meeting, telcos are expected to brief the NTC on the status of their network roll-outs and current problems encountered. The NTC aims to determine how government can help address said issues, particularly “red tape” challenges. The NTC said that it shall push for front-loaded implementation of telcos’ roll-out plans, particularly for the first two quarters of 2021. The bi-monthly meetings will allow the NTC to closely monitor telcos’ progress in helping the country improve its internet speed resulting to better global rankings in Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index. The latest Ookla Speedtest Global Index reported an impressive 14-notch jump in the Philippines’ ranking in mobile Internet connection speed is sustained. The country’s average mobile Internet speed in December 2020 registered at 22.50 megabits per second (Mbps) compared to 18.49 Mbps in November 2020. With a total of 118 million tests conducted in all of the country’s regions, cities and municipalities throughout 2020, the monthly increase in speed of 4Mbps for mobile from November to December was the highest monthly increase since July 2016. The improvement in mobile internet connection pulled the country’s rank up the past month to 29th from 34th out of 50 Asian countries and to 18th from 22nd out of 46 Asia Pacific countries. The change comes after the President’s directive last July 2020 on the need to expedite the facilitation of LGU permits in relation to building cellular towers. Since then, there has been a significant increase in the issuance of permits from July to December 2020 vis-à-vis the average monthly numbers of permits issued in 2019. The NTC reported that in 2019, a monthly average of 63 permits were issued for Globe and a monthly average of 50 for Smart. However, the average monthly number of permits issued on July to December 2020 rose by 552.65% (348 permits) for Globe and 194.33% (97 permits) for Smart. The fast-tracking of the issuance of permits resulted in an increase in building cellular towers. From July to December 2020, a total of 2,939 additional towers/physical sites were built.