Duterte to end RP's third world connectivity

  • Written by Itchie G. Cabayan
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 414

Direct Hit

Commuters of the MRT are now benefitting from impressive internet speeds, thanks to President Rodrigo Duterte and his apparent determination to improve internet service in the country.

Based on reports and figures supplied by my good friend Jason Valencia of the NTC, approximately 230,000 of the 444,044 daily MRT-3 commuters access and connect to the EDSA free Wi-Fi internet during peak hours.  That’s actually almost a quarter of a million people accessing the internet on a daily basis in all the stations of EDSA-MRT.

Here’s what makes it impressive -- tests yielded average download and upload speeds of 156.6 mbps, and 135.8 mbps, respectively.

This was unimaginable until my nephew narrated how he experienced similar speeds on two occasions when he rode the MRT recently, so there’s definitely truth in there.  With a report saying that the highest recorded download speed was at 325.48 mbps in Ortigas station and the highest recorded upload speed was at 310.57 mbps in Magallanes station, this initiative by the Duterte government is indeed a giant leap for connectivity.

The government’s plan of having the free wi-fi project cover the entire street level of EDSA by October of this year will mean that a whole lot more Filipinos will be connected while in transit to their destinations.

If it’s true that there are around 7,500 vehicles passing through EDSA every hour, then the benefit of having commuters and passengers connecting to the internet should make plying the route suddenly a highly-productive one. 
The benefits of this to Filipino workers would be tremendous.  
In addition to this, the Duterte government also launched the National Broadband Plan (NBP) last June with the ultimate goal of providing access to the countryside not reached by telcos.
With our neighboring countries spending hefty amounts to improve their internet, it is a very welcome development that the Duterte administration now plans to spend around P70 to P200 billion to get the NBP off the ground.  This is a government that really knows what should be prioritized.
In the case of China, spending was at $298 billion for telecommunications infrastructure between 2016 and 2020; South Korea at $24 billion for public internet backbone; Thailand at $19.8 billion for 24,700 villages to ensure internet broadband connectivity within a couple of years; Taiwan at $2.4 billion for the country’s digital infrastructure, Indonesia at $21.1 billion for IT infrastructure; Malaysia at $233 million to boost broadband coverage and speed and Vietnam at $820 million for submarine cable.
Recently, a friend said he passed by an ATM machine in Alphaland Southgate Mall near the Magallanes MRT station at around 4:30 a.m. and happened to find around seven people busy with their mobile phones under the MRT platform. 
My friend struck a conversation with one of them and asked: “Bakit parang marami nang nakatambay dito eh ’di pa bukas ang MRT ’di ba?” My friend was quite surprised with the reply he got: ‘Mabilis po kasi ang Wi-Fi dito, sir.’ Quickly, my friend checked if it were true and was surprised to know that indeed, it was for real.
If plans are properly carried out by October of this year, even passengers of private and public transport plying EDSA will experience the same Wi-Fi speed as those who are at the MRT stations.  Traffic eventually becomes less of a hassle. An increase in people’s productivity outside the workplace should be a natural consequence of this.
I’m glad that the idea of improving the internet is finally getting the attention it truly deserves.  Connectivity is the future of any economy and we can no longer lag behind our neighbors in prioritizing government spending for this.  The country’s 54 million internet users must ensure that the implementation of the NBP and all other programs aimed at improving internet connectivity are carried out immediately and without any delay.

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Jokjok (from Susan Hontiveros of Marikina) -- Nanay:  Hoy Pedro; ’di ka ba nahihiya?! Nakikita ng mga kapitbahay natin na akong nanay mo, linis ako nang linis dito, tapos ikaw naman laro ka lang nang laro diyan!?/ Anak: ’Nay talaga oo, Eh hindi kaya mas nakakahiya kung akong anak ang makikita ng mga kapitbahay na linis nang linis diyan tapos ikaw naman ang laro nang laro dito?! Isip-isip din ’pag may time, ’nay!

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