DICT advised to focus on delivering ICT to rural areas

22 Nov 2021

Open Gov Asia reports that the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has been advised that it ‘should make provisions for the final mile to give more people access to ICT services in the proposed 2022 budget’, rather than adopt or promote measures that simply replicate efforts already in place in areas where internet access is already established. Politicians including Senator Ralph Recto are calling on the government to stick to its promise to deliver ‘adequate and efficient services’ to all 89 million internet users in the country by January 2025, arguing that to reach this target the government must focus on improving access in underserved and unserved areas. Instead of competing with telecommunication firms, Recto believes the DICT’s primary focus ‘should be to support them’.

According to the DICT, the country now has 25,213 macro cell towers and roughly 127,000 ‘tiny’/micro cell towers, equivalent to around 3,500 customers using each macro cell tower at any given time. The industry watchdog the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has stated that the ideal number of internet users per cell tower is 500, and that to attain this ratio, an additional 150,000 cell towers, in addition to the existing 25,213, are required to serve all 89 million Filipino mobile internet users.