Faster May internet speeds: Result of Duterte’s instructions to expedite release of LGU permits

RECENT improvements in telco infrastructure roll-out due to faster issuances of LGU permits have resulted to marked improvements in internet speed as reported by Ookla, the global leader in internet testing.    

Ookla Speedtest Global Index reported that the country’s internet average download speed continued to accelerate as fixed broadband speed increased from 49.31Mbps in April to 58.73Mbps in May 2021.      

The latest download speed represents a monthly improvement of 19.10% for fixed broadband and an improvement of 642.50% since the Duterte administration began in July 2016.     

The country’s fixed broadband speed improvement is largely attributed to telcos’ continued investment on fiber optic network which now totals to 846,323 cable-kilometers already laid out all over the country.      

Smart currently has the widest network with 497,700 cable-kilometers of fiber optic built.     

Converge has laid-out 260,030 cable-kilometers, while Globe has 72,573 cable-kilometers and DITO with 16,020 cable-kilometers.    

In 2019, a total of 384,341 cable-kilometers of fiber network was laid-out all over the country.      

In 2020, the network increased to a total of 726,705 cable-kilometers, an 89% increase from the previous year. The 846,323 cable-kilometers laid-out as of April 2021 represent a 16.5% increase from the 726,705 cable-kilometers completed at the end of 2020.    

Ookla reported that mobile speed also improved in May as the country yielded an average download speed of 31.97Mbps from 29.12Mbps the month before. The latest download speed represents a monthly improvement of 9.80% for mobile and an improvement of 329.70% since the Duterte administration began in July 2016.      

Improvement in mobile speed may be attributed to the increase in LGU permits granted to telcos and consequently to the increase in towers built.      

After the President’s announcement to streamline and speed up the issuance of LGU permits in July 2020, there has been a significant increase in permits granted to telcos from July 2020 to April this year vis-à-vis 2019.      

In 2019, a total of 1,636 permits were issued for DITO, Globe and Smart. In 2020, a total of 6,451 permits were issued.  The 294% increase in issuances is seen as a direct effect of the President’s pronouncement. As of January to April 2021, 2,789 permits have already been issued to telcos.      

The increase in permits issued resulted in an increase in towers built.     

In 2019, telcos built a total of 1,746 towers.  In 2020, a total of 4,337 towers were built. 2020’s figure represents a 148% increase compared to the previous year. As of April 2021, 1,672 towers have been built by telcos.     

The country now has a total of 24,614 cellular towers to date. Globe has 10,941 towers. Smart has 10,433 and DITO has 3,240.

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