In an increasingly interconnected world, the Philippines appears to be lagging behind its Southeast Asian neighbors when it comes to stable Internet connectivity, according to the Pulse Internet Resilience Index (IRI).
In the latest Pulse Internet Resilience Index (IRI) report released by the Internet Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving openness, global connectivity, and security on the Internet, the Philippines scored 46 percent, placing it seventh out of a total of 11 countries assessed in the region.
However, there are interesting comparisons among surrounding countries. The Philippines falls below Singapore, which scored 72 percent; Vietnam, which scored 52 percent; and Brunei, Malaysia, and Thailand, which all scored 51 percent. Indonesia, on the other hand, secured its position with 48 percent, and while it was behind, it was still ahead of Myanmar (45 percent), Cambodia (43 percent), and Laos (44 percent). Timor Leste came in last with 38 percent.
While the Philippines is slightly below the regional average of 49 percent, it is on par with the overall Asian average of 46 percent. In other words, the region's regional average is also the highest, surpassing the overall Asian average. It also surpasses the Americas and Oceania, with 45 percent, and Africa, with 35 percent. However, the region's percentage still lags behind Europe's 60 percent.
The Pulse Internet Resilience Index (IRI) is said to be the first tool of its kind to provide a broad window into the resilience of Internet networks in more than 170 countries around the world. The matrix is based on four key measures: infrastructure, performance, security, and market readiness.
In terms of statistics, the Philippines scored 48 percent in the infrastructure category, ranking third in the region. In performance, the Philippines scored 48 percent, ranking it sixth. The Philippines ranked ninth in security with a score of 54 percent, and eighth in market readiness with a score of 35 percent.
Assessment in the Infrastructure category refers to the existence and availability of the physical infrastructure that provides Internet connectivity. Performance assesses the ability of the network to provide smooth and reliable Internet access to end users.
Security evaluates the network's ability to withstand disruptions, both intentional and unintentional, through the use of security technologies and best practices. While the Market Readiness category measures the ability of the market to self-regulate and provide affordable rates to end users while maintaining healthy competition.
The Internet Society provided an interesting perspective on the Philippines' achievements in infrastructure, mentioning that the country is very well positioned in terms of infrastructure, particularly in terms of coverage of strong fixed telephone lines, a rarity for an archipelago.
But they also stressed that reliable Internet connectivity is important for everyone. Adequate Internet infrastructure is still lacking in many countries, particularly in low-income countries, which often face limitations in terms of robust cable infrastructure and reliable interconnection systems.
The Internet Society also found that in areas at risk of Internet outages, neighboring countries struggle to provide better interconnections, while global providers are reluctant to invest in upgrading existing infrastructure due to lack of connectivity reliability. In some cases, this also results in high Internet access costs for end-users.
According to the Internet Society itself, the concept of a "resilient Internet" refers to connections that are able to maintain acceptable service standards in the face of disruptions and challenges in the normal course of day-to-day operations. This is increasingly becoming a major concern for policymakers and activists around the world. This is especially important as the Internet infrastructure has become a critical foundation for supporting a country's economy and social life.
The information generated by the index can also serve as a valuable guide for policymakers in the country. The index can help identify strong and weak aspects of the country's Internet ecosystem. This data has great potential to guide investment decisions as well as strategic actions needed to improve the overall network resilience in the Philippines.