MANILA, Philippines — Adding to mounting evidence purporting technology’s impact on countries’ economies, a United Nations (UN) body on Monday released a report citing the annual 0.32 percent contribution of mobile broadband penetration to the Philippines’ economic output in the past decade.
The figure is said to represent 6.9 percent of all GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth for the Philippine economy during the past ten years, according to the Broadband Commission’s “The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All” report.
The number is consistent with a recent World Bank study, which revealed that a 10-percent increase in a country’s broadband penetration represents a 1.38 percent GDP growth in low- and middle-income countries.
According to a May 2012 report by Columbia Institute for Tele-Information’s Dr. Raul Katz as cited in the UN report, the private telecoms sector has been one of the key drivers of mobile broadband adoption in the country.
“[They did this] through wireless price reductions and wide coverage … [that] resulted in a fast adoption process,” the report suggested.
The continuing development of online applications for healthcare, education, and government services, among others, will further drive broadband adoption in the future, it added.
The study shows proof of how broadband Internet can help economies — developing countries in particular — drive development and attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN more than a decade ago.
“Broadband is today a critical infrastructure in the growing global digital economy,” the report said. “And countries that fail to invest in broadband infrastructure risk being excluded from today’s online economy, as well as the next stage of the digital revolution and future Internet.”
But despite positive contributions to the country’s GDP, the country’s broadband infrastructure remains at a dismal level, pushed upward only by private-sector deployments and hampered by a controversial national broadband network deal a few years ago.
According to the report, the country ranks 96th worldwide in mobile broadband subscriptions with a 3.4 percent penetration.
The figures for fixed broadband are a bit more dismal as the Philippines ranks 101st worldwide with only 1.9 percent penetration, as earlier reported by Newsbyte.ph.
The country, however, rises above other developed nations in its use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, coming out on top beside Indonesia in terms of social network penetration with a 75 percent rate.
The global average, in contrast, is pegged at about a 55 percent rate, the same penetration figure for the United States.
“Broadband technologies offer major opportunities to advance socio-economic development, from providing access to education or health information to making electronic payments enabling people to set aside valuable savings and survive economic shocks,” the report added.