Press Release
July 1, 2020

Transcript of Sen. Grace Poe's Opening Statement
Senate Committee on Public Services Hearing on Connectivity

This hearing is called to order.

Ngayong hapon, sisilipin natin kung ano na nga ba talaga ang estado ng internet sa ating bansa at kung kakayanin ba nitong suportahan ang ating shift sa new normal.

We will tackle the resolutions filed by Senators Recto and Pacquiao on cell sites availability and minimum internet speed requirement for providers.

May 73 million internet users sa bansa. This number seemed high until we found out in a recent World Bank report that only 70 percent of Filipinos are active mobile broadband subscribers o 'yung mga nag-iinternet gamit ang cellphone. This is lower than the ASEAN regional average of 88 percent. Even lower is the number of fixed broadband subscribers, o 'yung mga nag-iinternet gamit ang linya sa bahay, which is at four percent compared to the regional average of 10 percent.

The Philippines ranked 110th out of 174 countries in the Speedtest Global Index. Ang bilis ng internet sa bansa ay kalahati lamang ng regional average ngunit isa tayo sa may pinakamataas na internet cost-halos katumbas na ng Singapore kung saan 'di hamak na mas mabilis ang internet.

This is the sad state of internet in our country: may gadget nga pero wala namang signal; may signal nga pero wala namang load para makapag-internet. Kung mamalasin pa ay wala nang maayos na gadget, wala pang signal, wala pang load.

The current state of internet access in the country demands urgent attention as millions of Filipinos are trying to lead new normal lives at home. Those working from home, the millions of students anxious about online learning, and all those who depend on the digital economy are all waiting for the digital life to get better.

The digital life is now the new norm, not just an option. We are now in a race against time to bridge the digital divide. Closing the gap ASAP must be our top priority.

While we work on urgent solutions, we will never stop pushing for long term policy and regulatory changes that will lower barriers to market entry such as the Amendments to the Public Service Act and the Open Access in Data Transmission Bill which I co-authored with Senator Ralph.

For now, we must capitalize on the current consensus that we need better internet ASAP. This is a venue for solutions. Humanap tayo ng paraan para maikunekta sa internet ang mga unserved at underserved communities sa lahat ng sulok ng Pilipinas.

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