Internet in the Philippines

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The Internet in the Philippines has been undergoing development since it was first made available in 1994. As of September 30, 2011, more than 30,000,000 people use the internet in the country accounting for 33% of the total population. The Philippines has the slowest internet connectivity speed in the southeast region[1] and is among the slowest in the world.[2] The top-level domain of the country is .ph.

World map of internet penetration (number of Internet users as a percentage of a country's population), 2012[3]
World map of internet users, 2012[3]


The Internet first made its connection to the Philippines on March 29, 1994. On that date the Philippine Network Foundation (PHNet) connected the country and its people to Sprint in the United States via a 64 kbit/s link.[4][5][6]

A year after the connection, The Public Telecommunications Act of the Philippines was made into law. Securing a franchise is now optional for value-added service providers. This law enabled many other organizations to establish connections to the Internet, such as to create Web sites and having their own Internet services or providing Internet service and access to other groups and individuals. These developments are very significant for the country's Internet sector.

However the growth of the Internet in the Philippines was hindered by many obstacles including unequal distribution of Internet infrastructure throughout the country, its cost and corruption in the government.[7] But these obstacles did not altogether halt all the developments. More connection types were made available to more Filipinos. Increasing bandwidth and a growing number of Filipino Internet users as years passed were proof of the continuing development of the Internet in the country.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, codified as Republic Act No. 10175, criminalized cybersquatting, cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel.[8] The act has been criticized for its provision on criminalizing libel, which is perceived to be a curtailment in freedom of expression. After several petitions submitted to the Supreme Court of the Philippines questioned the constitutionality of the Act,[9] the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on October 9, 2012, stopping implementation of the Act for 120 days.[10]

A Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom has been filed in the Philippine legislature to, among others, repeal Republic Act No. 10175.[11]


A timeline of the early history of the Internet in the Philippines:[12]

August 1986: The first Philippine-based, public-access BBS [bulletin board system], First-Fil RBBS went online with an annual subscription fee of P1,000. A precursor to the local online forum, it ran an open-source BBS software on an IBM XT Clone PC with a 1200bit/s modem and was operated by Dan Angeles and Ed Castañeda.

1987: The Philippine FidoNet Exchange, a local network for communication between several BBSes in Metro Manila, was formed.

1990: A committee helmed by Arnie del Rosario of the Ateneo Computer Technology Center was tasked with exploring the possibility of creating an academic network of universities and government institutions by the National Computer Center under Dr. William Torres. Recommendations were made but not implemented.

1991-1993: Emergence of email gateways and services in the Philippines, including some from multinational companies like Intel, Motorola, and Texas Instruments, which used a direct Internet connection, X.25, or UCCP protocol. Local firms ETPI, Philcom, and PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company) also operated commercial X.25 networks. Another milestone: Local and international email to FidoNet users was introduced.

June 1993: With the support of the Department of Science and Technology and the Industrial Research Foundation, the Philnet project (now PHNET) was born. The Philnet technical committee, composed of computer buffs working at the DOST and representatives from the Ateneo de Manila University (Richie Lozada and Arnie del Rosario), De La Salle University (Kelsey Hartigan-Go), University of the Philippines Diliman (Rodel Atanacio and Rommel Feria), and University of the Philippines Los Baños, would eventually play a significant role in connecting the Philippines to the World Wide Web.

July 1993: Phase one of the Philnet project shifted into full gear after receiving funding from the DOST. It proved to be successful, as students from partner universities were able to send emails to the Internet by routing them through Philnet's gateway at the University of the Philippines Diliman Computer Center, which was connected to another gateway at the Victoria University of Technology in Australia via IDD Dial-Up (Hayes Modem :-).

November 1993: An additional P12.5-million grant for the first year's running cost was awarded by the DOST to buy equipment and lease communication lines needed to kickstart the second phase of Philnet, now led by Dr. Rudy Villarica.

March 29, 1994, 1:15 a.m.: Benjie Tan, who was working for ComNet, a company that supplied Cisco routers to the Philnet project, established the Philippine's first connection to the Internet at a PLDT network center in Makati City. Shortly thereafter, he posted a short message to the Usenet newsgroup soc.culture.filipino to alert Filipinos overseas that a link had been made. His message read: "As of March 29, 1994 at 1:15 am Philippine time, unfortunately 2 days late due to slight technical difficulties, the Philippines was FINALLY connected to the Internet via SprintLink. The Philippine router, a Cisco 7000 router was attached via the services of PLDT and Sprint communications to SprintLink's router at Stockton Ca. The gateway to the world for the Philippines will be via NASA Ames Research Center. For now, a 64K serial link is the information highway to the rest of the Internet world."

March 29, 1994, 10:18 a.m.: "We're in," Dr. John Brule, a Professor Emeritus in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Syracuse University, announced at The First International E-Mail Conference at the University of San Carlos in Talamban, Cebu, signifying that Philnet's 64 kbit/s connection was live.


Internet café in the Philippines
Worldmap of internet browsers. In the Philippines 62.43% use Google Chrome, 25.15% Firefox, 6.28% Internet Explorer, 4.13% Safari.[13]

About one in three consumers in the Philippines are accessing the internet in 2011, according to a report from AGB Nielsen Philippines.[14] Among the findings in the report are:

  • 33% of Filipinos access the Internet, five percentage points below the Southeast Asian regional average of 38%.
  • Internet penetration amongst consumers aged 15 to 19 was close to two-thirds (65%) and nearly half of those in their 20‟s were online (48%).
  • There is still much room for growth for those aged 30+ – less than one quarter of consumers aged in their 30s (24%) access the Internet, 13% of consumers in their 40s, and just 4% of consumers aged 50+.
  • 52% of Filipinos have a computer with high speed Internet connection at home.
  • Home is the most common Internet access point for those aged 30 years and above close to nine in ten Internet users aged 50 years and above (86%) cite "home" as their main point of access.
  • 74% of 15–19 years identify Internet cafés as their main point of Internet access.
  • Already close to one quarter of Filipinos Internet users (24%) access the Internet on a daily basis via a mobile phone and 56% intend to access the Internet via a mobile phone in the next 12 months.
  • Over two thirds of Filipino digital consumers (67%) have visited social networking sites, compared to 40% who use email.
  • The Philippines ranked second highest for the number of people who have ever "liked" or followed a brand, company or celebrity on a social networking site (75%).
  • 61% of Filipino Internet users said they trusted consumer opinions posted online, higher than any other market in Southeast Asia and seven points above the regional average.
  • Online product reviews and discussion forums are one of the most trusted sources of recommendations in purchase decision making, second only to recommendations from family and friends.
  • Close to two thirds of digital Filipinos (64%) use social media as a resource in purchase decision making.

Wireless Broadband[edit]


As the increasing number of subscribers continuing to grow in the Philippines, both PLDT and Globe Telecom have rapidly been expanding their TD-LTE services for Fixed Wireless Broadband. According to PLDT, they have spent P2 billion of its P28.8 billion capital expenditure for 2013 to bring Time-Division Duplex-Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) technology to customers’ homes. According to industry data, the Philippines’ TD-LTE network is one of the largest deployments in Asia Pacific with over 200 base stations and an allocated bandwidth of 100 megabits per second (Mbps).[15]

As of January 2015, both PLDT and Globe Telecom are phasing out WiMax services in favor for TD-LTE.


IP Peering[edit]

Philippines currently runs 3 Internet Exchange points in the Country. Philippine Open Internet Exchange (PhOPENIX), Philippine Internet Exchange (PhIX), and Philippine Common Routing Exchange (PHNET CORE). While many ISPs are interconnected to each other, PLDT is the only remaining ISP, alongside SMART Communications, to not have an established Peering Setup with local Carriers. The NTC has requested PLDT to agree to IP Peer with Globe, but PLDT denied it, allegedly on the grounds that Internet service levels could suffer because the NTC memo circular does not provide for rigorous and robust arrangements for IP peering.[16]

Red Tape[edit]

On January 28, 2015 a senate hearing was brought in by Senator Bam Aquino to investigate on the cause of slow Internet connectivity in the Philippines. Globe and the Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Company (PLDT), raised one major concern: the lengthy processes and exorbitant fees several LGUs require them. According to Lim, senior of Vice President says that "In general, it takes 6 months to put up a tower," and Ramon Isberto, head of PLDT's Public affairs has also backed up Globe's claim and says that red tape problems is an industry-wide concern.[17]

Slow Internet speed[edit]

As of 2014, the Philippines had one of the slowest Internet speeds in Southeast-Asia according to Akamai. In its State of the Internet Q2-2014, Akamai said the Philippines ranked 103rd on the list in terms of average connection speeds. Philippines only had an average Internet speed of 2.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) in the second quarter of 2014.[18] In February 2014 OpenSignal, a company that specializes in wireless coverage mapping, issued a report saying that the Philippines had the poorest and slowest LTE broadband internet access and coverage in the world.[19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia [1] Monday, April 21st, 2014
  2. ^ Philippines internet speed ranked 168 out of 196 on netindex. Download speed by country.
  3. ^ a b "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
  4. ^ Miguel A. L. Paraz: Developing a Viable Framework for Commercial Internet Operations in the Asia-Pacific Region: The Philippine Experience. ISOC, INET 1997
  5. ^ Jim Ayson (29 February 2012). "The Philippine Internet turns 18: Is anyone still counting". GMA News. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Jose Bimbo F. Santos (20 March 2014). "20PHNET - Philippine Internet connection turns 20 years old this month". Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Philippines - Public Access Landscape Study Research Team Emmanuel Lallana, University of Washington Center for Information & Society (CIS), 2009.
  8. ^ Republic Act No. 10175, An Act Defining Cybercrime, Providing for the Prevention, Investigation, Suppression and the Imposition of Penalties therefor and for Other Purposes. Approved by President of the Philippines BENIGNO S. AQUINO III on September 12, 2012
  9. ^ Canlas, Jonas (27 September 2012). "Suits pile up assailing anti-cybercrime law". The Manila Times. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  10. ^ Torres, Tetch (9 October 2012). "SC issues TRO vs cyber law". Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inc.). Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Wisdom of Crowds: Crowdsourcing Net Freedom", Jonathan de Santos, Yahoo! News Philippines, 21 January 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  12. ^ "#20PHnet: A timeline of Philippine Internet", Alora Uy Guerrero, TechnoStorm Tech Trend, Yahoo! News Philippines, 20 March 2014.
  13. ^ Top 5 browsers in Philippines on February 2013 Statcounter Global Stats
  14. ^ One in three consumers in the Philippines are now accessing the Internet. social networking playing an increasing role in consumer purchasing decisions AGB Nielsen Philippines Manila, 12 July 2011. The report is a pre-release of data from Nielsen's inaugural Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report available September 30, 2011.
  15. ^ "PLDT, Globe in race to modernize networks - The Manila Times Online". The Manila Times Online. 
  16. ^ "PLDT rejects IP peering proposal of NTC, Globe | SciTech | GMA News Online". 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  17. ^ "Slow Internet? Blame red tape – telcos". Rappler. 
  18. ^ "Philippines still has one of slowest Internet speeds in Asia". ABS-CBN News. 
  19. ^ "PHL has poorest, slowest LTE broadband in the world — int'l survey". February 22, 2014. 
  20. ^ "The State of LTE (February 2014)". OpenSignal.