Information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure
According to zipcodesexplorer, the Philippines have an ICT infrastructure that is typical of developing countries: landline telephony and wired (broadband) Internet are not widespread. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there were around four million landline connections and around four million broadband Internet connections in 2017. Measured against the population of a good 106 million people, the country had a landline and cable internet rate of less than four percent.
The situation is completely different with cell phone connections: There the Philippines have around 115 million cell phone connections. In purely mathematical terms, all Filipinos have at least one cell phone connection. The World Data Atlas offers further statistics and data on the topic of ICT in the Philippines.
This inadequately developed national ICT infrastructure, but also the limited number of connections to the submarine cables of the major Internet carriers, mean that Internet speeds in the Philippines are among the slowest in the world. According to Speedtest.net, in April 2019, the island nation ranked 104th out of 138 for mobile Internet access and 108th out of 172 for wired Internet access. The Philippines are therefore one of the last in Southeast Asia in terms of Internet speed. The average download speeds in April 2019 were 14.73 Mbps (mobile) and 18.66 Mbps (wired) in the Philippines. In contrast, the global average was 26.96 Mbps (mobile) and 58.66 Mbps (wired). This shows that the country has a lot of catching up to do, which President Duterte would like to implement with a national plan to expand the broadband network.
Despite this poor ICT infrastructure, the Philippines has one of the strongest and most dynamic online communities in the world. Filipinos are very internet and especially social media savvy. As in other Southeast Asian countries, modern information and communication technologies – especially social networks – have quickly become an important part of culture and society. In the first 2000’s, the Filipinos were considered the world champions of SMS sending, today they can probably be called Facebook world champions.
The great importance of social media for Filipinos
In 2014 Time magazine named Manila the world capital of selfies. The basis for this championship title is an evaluation of selfies posted on Instagram.
Of the approximately 106 million Filipinos, around 67 million have regular access to the Internet. 62 of the 67 million Internet users in the country have a Facebook account and use it regularly – although most Filipinos also use other social media platforms.
The social media platforms YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Tumblr and LinkedIn are particularly popular among Filipinos. Social media offers can also be found among the ten most visited Filipino websites. The ten most visited websites in June 2019 are: Google.com, Youtube.com, Abs-cbn.com, Inquirer.net, Facebook.com, Gmanetwork.com, Yahoo.com, Google.com.ph, Rappler.com and Wikipedia.org.
For Filipinos, socializing is essentially the most important thing they go online for. They cultivate friendships online, talk to each other, make new acquaintances, tell each other stories or listen to them in order to always express their close ties with one another. Filipinos can thus meet personal, professional and cultural needs online, build and maintain a meaningful support network in society, and participate in the lives of friends and relatives. Social media play such a prominent role that Filipinos spend around 53 hours a week online socializing, according to a study from 2014- which is also and precisely due to the fact that many of them work and live overseas and keep in touch with family, friends and acquaintances via social media.
This great affinity of Filipinos for social media, the very strongly Catholic – and thus very similar to the global north – values and the low wage level in the Philippines are perfect conditions for Facebook, Google and Co. a large part of the content moderation in the context of To have Filipinos do business process outsourcing. With almost holy zeal and with absolutely low pay, Filipinas in particular “clean” the social media platforms of the filth that floods social networks every day in the form of hate, violence and pornography postings. They do the digital dirty work for the unclouded usage relationship of users in Europe and the USA.
For Filipinos, it’s not just mobile social apps that play a role. Apps that help them deal with the threat of typhoons and understand other weather risks are also increasingly important. With the help of push messages and SMS, the population can be quickly warned of typhoons and other natural disasters.
Younger Filipinos in particular use the internet and social media. The average age is 24 years and 56 percent of internet users were male in 2014. However, since many Filipinos do not yet have an Internet connection, these numbers are subject to constant change as more and more people gain access to the Internet.
Dutertismo online: A repressive government is also curtailing the freedom of the internet
The freedom of the Internet in the country suffers, like society, from Dutertismo, which is why it can only be described as partially free for this reason. President Rodrigo Duterte, elected in May 2016, announced in his first press conference that corrupt journalists deserved to be murdered. He thus set the signs for freedom of expression and freedom of the press in the Philippines that are still valid today. The monitoring of telephone and internet communications has also been expanded under President Duterte over the past three years. Duterte also openly admitted several times that members of the opposition were and are being bugged.