Citing the growth in demand for broadband services in the country, the Filipino telecoms watchdog, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), this week called for new benchmarking tests to ensure that end users are receiving ‘superior quality’ services only. NTC director Edgardo Cabarios said the regulator was in the process of seeking bids for new benchmarking equipment ‘worth millions of pesos’ and would award a tender contract soon, with delivery of the equipment to take place soon after.
Latest data from the NTC shows that 70% of households and 75% of businesses now have access to wireless broadband services. Moreover, broadband connectivity in urban areas has reached 100% it said, while rural coverage currently stands at 40%. ‘There is more room for growth in rural areas and that’s where the carriers are going. They should tap that market,’ Cabarios added. At the end of October 2008 the Philippines had a total of 739,989 xDSL connections, but the NTC is predicting that could double or even triple in 2009.
The principal broadband providers in the country Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), Globe Telecom, Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Bayan Telecommunications, and Eastern Telecommunications Philippines (ETPI) are all committing significant resources to broadband for this year. In particular, PLDT has set aside additional money for high speed access and plans to launch a faster 7Mbps version of its current HSDPA service, offered through PLDT WeRoam and Smart Bro. The company had 876,000 broadband subscribers as at 30 September 2008. Meanwhile, Globe says its WiMAX deployment is on course and is already in the pre-commercial rollout phase in parts of Metro Manila with commercial launch to follow shortly. The Ayala-backed operator says its broadband business is beginning to gather momentum, adding more subscribers in 3Q08 than it managed in the whole of the first half of the year. Total subscribers for Globe’s fixed and fully mobile broadband services reached 175,000 by 1 October, up 51% year-on-year and 20% up from the previous quarter