The Philippines’ Globe Telecom says that fixed broadband internet speeds of 50Mbps are achievable nationwide by 2020, providing the industry addresses the challenges to ensuring the rollout of advanced network infrastructure. The Manila Times quotes the Ayala-backed telco’s CTO Gil Genio as claiming that a sharp increase in data speeds – current download speeds are typically in the range of 2Mbps-10Mbps – could be available provided the government and other stakeholders work to overcome the ‘challenges’ faced. Specifically, Globe points to issues such as the state’s proposed National Broadband Plan and Open Access Law, the Philippines’ unfavourable geography and bureaucratic red tape. ‘There is still [a] lack of clarity on what is called Open Access,’ Genio said, adding: ‘There are a lot of bills, discussions, and policy statements, but nothing has been pushed forward.’
Under the National Broadband Plan, the government plans to oversee the construction of common towers that will then be leased out to telcos. Here, Genio opined: ‘Adopting an Open Access model will also open up the industry to local and foreign players, as it allows sharing physical infrastructure across multiple operators. In turn, [this] significantly improves cost-effectiveness.’ Globe sees Open Access as an important factor as it continues to deploy its fibre-optic network, but warns that the government needs to do more to overcome the myriad obstacles preventing more new builds being completed. Further, Genio pointed to concerns over red tape at the local government level which are holding up the issuing of permits to build out its infrastructure. ‘We need to be able to develop partnerships among all stakeholders. The Philippines is sometimes not fibre-friendly, let alone fibre-ready. I only know [of] very few buildings where developers have already … put fibre [in] units,’ he said.