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Poe prods telcos: Speed up efforts to make internet connection better, more reliable

Poe prods telcos: Speed up efforts to make internet connection better, more reliable

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has urged telecommunication companies to expedite efforts to improve internet connection and reliability as majority of students depend on the internet for distance learning.

Poe said that better internet service is all the more essential today since students and employees were foreced to stay at home to study and work as threats of SARS-CoV-2, the latest coronavirus that causes COVID-19, persist.

“Telcos need to improve internet services now more than ever. Education is key to lifting people out of poverty. Keeping them deprived of internet services is akin to condemning them to poverty,” Poe said during Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate committee on public services, which she chairs.

According to Poe, telco firms should speed up the construction of connectivity infrastructure to improve its services especially since Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2 suspends requirements for the construction of cell towers to boost communications and connectivity in the country.

Poe then cited a survey conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) showing that 46 percent of Filipino families with kids are not attending classes because of the pandemic.

This, Poe said, is the second-highest number next to Myanmar in ADB’s survey of eight Association of Southeast Asian Nations country-members.

“The pandemic only underscored the heightened need for better internet service for students and people working from home. Connectivity, on its own, is not the great equalizer but it’s crucial,” she added.

During the committee hearing, Globe group of companies general counsel Atty. Froilan Castelo said that the Philippines only has 20,000 cell towers, which means that .

Castelo added that the country would need 50,000 more cell towers to compete with countries such as Vietnam.

One cell tower, according to Castelo, would cost P15 million.

Poe urged major telecommunication firms to strengthen their partnerships with small telcos in the provinces, especially those in remote areas, to come up with initiatives that are most beneficial to their subscribers.

KGA

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