Nearshore Americas
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Philippines BPO Workers Struggle to Stay Online

The Philippines BPO workers are struggling to stay online, with low-speed internet service dashing their hopes of working from home amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

A report on the Cebu Daily News (CDN) shows BPO workers’ ’ scrambling’ to speed up their broadband connections after their employers told them to telecommute.

“My housemates, like me, were told to work from home. But they don’t have a stable internet connection,” reported the newspaper quoting a Philippines BPO employee named Abby as saying.

Another unnamed BPO worker told the paper that she had been unable to improve the speed even after purchasing a new router.

“If I’ll connect my laptop to my family’s WiFi connection, the chances are that it might just hamper my duties because everyone will be using, and the speed will definitely slow down,” she said.

Meanwhile, some labor unions have begun criticizing the government’s decision to impose the lockdown, saying remote-working is not feasible in the Philippines.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines told ABS-CBN News that internet service ‘is the worst’ in the country.

“Obviously, manufacturing, you cannot do it, and some office works can be done. Most especially I think the BPOs, the call centers,” he said in reference to remote-working.

“Unfortunately, our infrastructure, our internet is one of the worst,” he said.

Patchy internet connectivity has long been an issue for the Philippines, which ranked 63rd out of 100 countries in the 2020 Inclusive Internet Index prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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Low-speed internet is primarily blamed on the lack of competition in the country’s telecom sector. Most of the telecom subscribers are shared between Globe Telecom and PLDT. Worse still, they charge other internet providers for increasing traffic on their networks.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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