PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. secured 22,000 fixed and wireless permits as of June 22, 2021 after the government fast-tracked approvals for telcos.

This enabled the two to step up their internet speeds, on the back of their network rollouts.

Smart’s average mobile download speeds have almost tripled from 16.60 Mbps to 47.30 Mbps between May 2020 and May 2021.

PLDT’s average fixed download speeds have more than doubled from 27.44 Mbps to 67.91 Mbps in the same period.

This was according to analysis by Ookla® of Speedtest Intelligence® data.

“Speed in the homes is strengthened by our ongoing fiber rollout, while 5G continues to lift the wireless experience​,” noted Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications President and CEO.

In Ookla’s latest Speedtest Global Index, the Philippines’ mobile average download speeds were at 31.98 Mbps, whereas average fixed broadband speeds were at 59.73 Mbps.

The latest results placed the country at 77th and 65th, respectively, and represent significant improvements from the April 2021 rankings (7 places and 15 places up, respectively).

“The significant progress in ranking the past months is due primarily to the government’s all-out support in expediting the release of LGU permits required for the fast-tracking of improvement of telco infrastructure,” according to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Speeds are set to go higher as the government looks to fast-track the roll-out of telecommunication companies’ infrastructure.

Among government initiatives that have helped speed up the telco rollout are the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA)’s issuance last year of the Joint Memorandum Circular fast-tracking the issuance of permits.

On the other hand, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)’s recently issued Department Order No. 29 (DO 29) allows telecommunications companies to occupy a portion of the government Right of Way (ROW).

DO 29’s issuance also assists in ensuring the timely maintenance of PLDT’s fiber infrastructure as well as Smart’s cell sites.

As of end-March, PLDT’s fiber infrastructure is at over 478,000 kilometers across the country.

This supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links for its more than 63,000 base stations. Smart covers 96% of the population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.

Source: Manila Bulletin (