The Philippines Needs to play Catch-up
Where I live in Dumaguete is a haven for expats, in fact there are more expats in Dumaguete per capita than anywhere else in the Philippines. Within this expat community there are a fair share of website developers like myself and some of us rely solely on the internet to earn a living. So when the internet goes down for extended periods of time my ability to live in this wonderful city takes a massive hit.
So why does it have to be like this? Well it doesn’t, I can only imagine greed and the monopoly the ISPs have are causing this diabolical setup. The whole of south east Asia has faster and cheaper internet access and the Philippines in real danger of being left behind in the if it doesn’t get its act together.
Obviously I have a vested interest in complaining about the internet because my income depends on its availability. But looking at the broader picture, it’s not just me that’s suffering it’s the city as a whole. I have a friend who runs a small call center and when the internet quality degrades, his business also grinds to a halt. The workers who rely mainly on commissions are left in limbo not knowing to wait it out without pay or to go home without pay, either way 36 people in just that one company suffer from the effects of bad internet. Considering almost half of the population of Dumaguete uses the internet regularly this resource should be taken a lot more seriously. Another company to suffer considerably is that good old mashed up beef bits and tasty sauce provider McDonalds. When their internet dies they may as well close.
Dumaguete, with its current developmental growth, universities, call centers and high internet usage per capita (second only to Manila), should be providing fast, reliable and cheap internet if it wants to be taken seriously in the coming decade. Unfortunately forward thinking decision makers have been thin on the ground so far but let’s hope the new mayor of Dumaguete will recognize this opportunity to secure the future of the city as a center for business and technology, God knows the existing world class call centers and universities provide sufficient cash flow for city coffers. It’s not difficult, it just needs to be the chosen path so everyone can benefit.
Fortunately I have recently found a solution to my connectivity woes with a local company able to provide leased lines with guaranteed speed SDSL (not the standard shared connections) and I’m eagerly anticipating the installation, it’s a bit more expensive obviously but for me it’s a no brainer.