Weak Internet Faced by 31% of Philippine Home Schoolers: Poll

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FILE PHOTO: A grade 2 student accompanied by his mother and sister waits for his online class to start at his family's store in front of their home in Manila, Philippines on October 7, 2020.(Photo: Lisa Marie David/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A grade 2 student accompanied by his mother and sister waits for his online class to start at his family's store in front of their home in Manila, Philippines on October 7, 2020.(Photo: Lisa Marie David/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

By Cecilia Yap

Close to a third of families in the Philippines whose members take school classes online have poor internet connections, according to a Social Weather Stations survey.

The poll of 1,500 adults conducted nationwide in November found that 31% of families with online distance learners have weak connections. A combined 68% said they have either strong or fair connections, and most of them are on the main Luzon island where the capital region is, pollster SWS said.

The nation’s largest telecommunications providers are rapidly boosting capital expenditure as competition shifts to servicing people working and studying from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. PLDT Inc. on March 4 said it will spend a record P92 billion ($1.9 billion) this year, while rival Globe Telecom Inc. in February said its annual outlay will reach a historical high of P70 billion.

An estimated 4.7 million Philippine households have members in online distance learning programs, according to the SWS report. Nearly 9 out of 10 families spend an average of 901 pesos a month on internet services, with 56% using pre-paid connections, the survey showed.

The Philippines has the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections in Southeast Asia. It reported 3,045 new cases on Friday, the highest daily tally since Oct. 16.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.