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Expensive but mediocre?

The latest Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) report of cybersecurity firm Surfshark, the Philippines was found to be among the countries with the “least affordable” internet services, yet consumers are receiving only “mediocre” quality of connectivity.

The country’s DQL ranking in terms of digital wellbeing fell to 55th from 48th in the previous year, out of 117 countries.

DQL is based on five fundamental digital life pillars, including internet affordability, which was the Philippines weakest spot with a 98th global ranking. “Residents can buy 1GB (gigabyte) of mobile internet in the Philippines for as cheap as 4 minutes, 51 seconds of work per month,” It noted. “However, compared to Israel, which has the most affordable mobile internet in the planet (5 seconds per 1 GB), Filipinos work 59 times more.”

For fixed broadband connectivity, Filipinos have to work 11 hours and 5 minutes per month to be able to pay for it. Compared again to Israel, which has monthly internet packages costing only 19 minutes of work, Filipinos have to work 34 times more for internet.

“Since last year, broadband internet has become less affordable in the Philippines, making people work 6 hours 4 minutes more to afford fixed broadband internet service,” the DQL research said.

The study did note that broadband services, in general, were getting less affordable due to rising inflation globally.

On the other hand, the country ranked 45th in internet quality, which considered speed, stability and growth. Although fixed broadband and mobile internet speed improved by 52.2 percent and 33 percent, respectively, since last year, it pales in comparison to Singapore’s fastest in the world, which provides mobile speeds of up to 104Mbps and fixed speeds of up to 261Mbps.

While Filipinos cannot deny that internet service speeds have improved in recent years, it has to be noted that the rest of the word is improving much faster and at the same time offering those improved services at better price points. This is why government and the telecommunications industry cannot rest on their laurels and must continue to keep pace with the rest of the developed world when it comes to the quality and affordability of what has become a critical service for most people in the planet.*

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September 2022
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