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Marcos mixes up median, mean internet speeds

The Philippines placed 46th globally in fixed broadband speed in July last year, a notch higher than its ranking in June this year. Meanwhile, it ranked 84th in mobile internet speed a year ago, one spot lower than its ranking this year.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., however, wrongly stated in his second State of the Nation Address on Monday that the country is now “11 places higher than it was in 2022” for fixed broadband speed and “8 places higher than it was last year” for mobile internet speed. His exact quote:

As of June this year, our fixed broadband speed ranks 47th among 180 countries. This ranking is 11 places higher than it was in 2022. Our mobile internet speed is now ranked at 83 out of 142 countries, which is 8 places higher than it was last year.

The error for fixed broadband stemmed from the president comparing the median speed this year with the mean speed for July 2022, both drawn from Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index.

(Mean or average is calculated by dividing the sum of given numbers by the total number of numbers. Median is the middle number in a sorted list of numbers.)

What Marcos compared this year’s median mobile internet speed with to conclude that the ranking is eight places higher today is unclear.

“Speedtest Global Index rankings are based on median download speed to best reflect the speeds a user is likely to achieve in a market,” according to Ookla.

Based on the median speeds last June, Ookla’s speedtest placed the Philippines at 47th spot for fixed broadband and 83rd for mobile internet as Marcos correctly said.

Going by the figures the president had furnished in his SONA, the country would have been in 58th spot for fixed broadband and 75th for mobile internet last year.

But the median speeds in July 2022 put the country in 46th spot for fixed broadband and 84th for mobile internet.

The mean speeds for the same period, meanwhile, show the Philippines ranking 58th for fixed broadband and 61st for mobile internet.

Results of the monthly speed test do show internet speeds in the country have improved under the Marcos administration.

In June 2022, as he prepared to assume office, the median download speed stood at 68.94 Mbps for fixed broadband and 21.41 Mbps for mobile. They have increased to 92.84 and 26.98 Mbps by June this year.


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