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Philippines’ Broadband Improvement Set to Benefit BPOs

The deployment of a national broadband plan was one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s initiatives in his State of the Nation Address last July 25, 2016. “Wi-Fi access shall be provided at no charge in selected public places including parks, plazas, public libraries, schools, government hospitals, train stations, airports, and seaports,” he said, to the delight of millions of Filipinos.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), organized at the tailend of Former President Benigno Aquino III’s administration, now led by Rodolfo Salalima, has been given this nationwide task of implementing a new broadband infrastructure.

Philippine Speed

The Philippines has been trailing behind other Asian countries in terms of Internet downloads speeds as its average is only at 3.7 mbps. Myanmar’s average is 5.1 mbps, Laos, 5.6 mbps, and Indonesia, 7.45 mbps, all well below the global average speed of 24.2 mbps. China and Japan are leading with 30.5 mbps and 103.2 mbps, respectively. However, the Philippines has been reaping economic benefits despite the slow broadband speed and access to Internet. Studies by the World Bank also indicated that national GDP expands by 1.38% for every 10% increase in broadband penetration.

Affordability and accessibility is an issue in the country as the current broadband penetration rate is only at 11%, with pricing cited as the main reason for the low subscription rate—at least $18 per month, which is almost four times more expensive than the global average of $5.20. Pricing in the new broadband project has not been announced.

BPO Growth

The Business Process Outsourcing industry is expected to experience a surge upon the implementation of this broadband infrastructure as new BPO hubs will be developed outside of the existing central business districts. Improved communications technology will also increase productivity and industry potential.

As interconnectivity becomes greater, telecommunications and ecommerce websites can expect better traffic, and Internet-based companies can expect better business growth. More jobs that can be accomplished online may begin cropping up soon, especially in areas outside of Manila, providing many opportunities to an untapped pool of skilled individuals in the provinces.

Improvements Underway

Both the private and public sectors are on the move to speed up broadband services. Rodolfo Salalima in July was pushing for the reallocation of frequencies in the private sector operators so the public sector may have a share in broadband access.

Smart, one of the telecommunication giants in the country and subsidiary of PLDT, also announced in July that they plan to expand high-speed Internet coverage to 95% of the country in the next two years. As part of their 4G rollout, they are also determined to extend LTE coverage by up to 40% of the Philippine municipalities by the end of the year.

Globe, on the other hand, committed to spending $500 million to connect two million Filipinos with high-speed Internet by 2020, made possible by the forthcoming deployment of fiber optics in 20,000 villages across the whole country.

Flat Planet is looking forward to all these developments as it will enrich the BPO industry in the Philippines with endless possibilities in terms of job creation, and will position the Filipinos better in the global professional landscape. With this new change in broadband infrastructure, coupled with our high-value talents and service, Flat Planet is excited for the new prospects and challenges that will materialize in the coming months and years.

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