Congress help sought in boosting ICT adoption in PH | Inquirer Business

Congress help sought in boosting ICT adoption in PH

BBA: Outdated policies resulted in 50 million Filipinos still offline, slow broadband connections
/ 04:36 AM November 02, 2019

A coalition of internet advocates called on lawmakers to intervene after the Philippines’ global competitiveness dropped due to its “poor ranking in ICT (information and communications technology) adoption.”

The Better Broadband Alliance (BBA) is urging Congress to pass laws such as the Open Access in Data Transmission Bill, which will promote digital connectivity as a driver of economic growth.


The BBA said the bill paved the way for different types of service providers to build and operate data networks.

Moreover, it proposes a simplified registration and qualification process to attract more players to invest in much-need data transmission infrastructure.


The bill also encourages infrastructure-sharing to make network deployment faster and more cost-efficient, promotes transparency in spectrum management and mandates interconnection among operators.

“The cost to the Philippine economy of poor internet access and slow internet speed can be enormous,” the group said, adding that the main cause was “using analog policy in the digital age.”

The statement came in the wake of a bruising World Economic Forum global competitiveness ranking that showed the Philippines drop to 64th from 56th place last year out of 141 economies.

“This means the nation fell short in terms of measures that will create an enabling environment, improve human capital, increase productivity of markets and support an innovation ecosystem that will enable wealth generation for its citizens,” BBA said.

It noted the decline was mainly caused by the deficiency in ICT adoption. This was measured by the subscription to mobile cellar, fixed and mobile broadband services and internet penetration.

BBA added that under the ICT adoption pillar, the Philippines ranked 88th and garnered a score of 50—about 20 points lower than the average in East Asia and the Pacific. The country fell behind peers like Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

This also carries implications for economic growth.


Citing a 2009 World Bank report, BBA said an increase in broadband penetration by 10 percent resulted in a 1.38-percent rise in gross domestic product (GDP) in developing economies between 2000 and 2006.

It said mobile broadband adoption in the Philippines can add up to 0.61 percent to GDP, based on a 2012 study by the UN International Telecommunication Union and Broadband Commission.

“Outdated policies have resulted in: 50 million Filipinos still offline; fixed and mobile broadband connections among the slowest in the world, and broadband services that remain unaffordable to a large segment of society, especially those living in the rural areas,” BBA said in its statement.

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