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Study highlights need for better Internet in the Philippines

PHILLPINES DAILY INQUIRER/ANN – In the advent of a hybrid work setup during the pandemic, the majority of Filipino workers are actively using the Internet at home for at least four hours daily – and they are demanding better and more reliable broadband services to carry out their tasks, according to the Broadband Index report of United States (US)networking giant Cisco.

The survey showed that nearly half of the respondents depend on the Internet to work from home (WFH), highlighting the need for high-performance broadband services.

In addition, some 83 per cent also said that at least three individuals were connected to the Internet at the same time in their households.

“With hybrid working continuing to be the mainstay for the Philippines’ workforce, access to high-performance, secure and reliable Internet is critical for employees to work effectively and productively when they are away from the office,” Cisco Philippines managing director Zaza Soriano Nicart said.

As such, 91 per cent of the workers raised the need for Internet services to “dramatically improve to support this new way of working,” not only in terms of speed but in “reliability and quality” as well.

More than half of the respondents, in fact, said they were planning to upgrade their Internet connection in the next 12 months.

Apart from employees, Cisco said it was also crucial for small and medium-sized enterprises to have secure Internet services to run their business, especially those who do not have “the same resources and IT (information technology) infrastructure of larger enterprises.”

With the respondents voicing out Internet access concerns, the study flagged the digital divide in the country after 78 per cent of surveyed Filipinos cited access to cheap and reliable broadband services as a “major” problem. Some 87 per cent of the respondents even claimed their inability to access services like online medical appointments, online education, social care and utility services during lockdown because of poor Internet connection.

To support the hybrid model, Cisco suggested the implementation of the appropriate technology for the workforce on the part of the employers.

Internet service providers, the tech firm said, could collaborate with the government in launching programmes to address the underserved or unserved segments across the country.

“Governments can establish broadband policies and programmes that encourage competition, drive Internet investments and expand its reach,” Cisco added.

The study, which was completed in December 2021, surveyed around 60,000 workers across 30 countries, including the Philippines.