Editorial: Slow speed, expensive service

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WE DON'T know how far the pursuit of this issue will go, but with a member of the Senate picking it up perhaps it will get attention enough to change the status quo—-the status quo being the Philippines having Internet connections that are slow and expensive compared with those of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

“I want to determine if consumers are indeed getting their money’s worth from Internet service being provided by telecommunications companies,” said Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV recently in reaction to a study that showed the Philippines’ Internet connection speed lagging behind even those of such countries as Laos and Cambodia.

Asean DNA recently posted an infographic showing Internet speed in the country to be the slowest in the whole of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). That’s not flattering considering our claim to having among the most Internet savvy people in Asia and even the world.


The infographic listed the Philippines as having an Internet speed of 3.6 megabytes per second (mbps). Compare that with Singapore’s 61.0 mbps or to the 4.0 mbps in Laos.

This is not new for netizens, of course, because complaints of slow but expensive Internet service connection by the country’s telecommunication firms have been made time and again through the years. The complaints have become so common people have accepted it as reality, meaning that, complaining has become futile.

And the problem is not only about the Internet. A few years ago, telecommunication firms were found out to have made a killing from its text messaging service, which should have been free in the first place.

These firms refused to heed calls to drop the charges on text messages and instead expanded their unlimited text messaging offers, which is deceptive because even with those “unli” promos they still made huge profits from the service.

In the case of the Internet speed, some service providers are riding on the complaints of consumers by offering connections with supposedly higher mbps but with more expensive rates. Yet, those who availed of these promos soon realized that the Internet connection only sped up in the first few weeks and then fluctuated regularly later on.

Given this situation, Aquino should push through with his plan to look deeper into the Asean DNA report.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 24, 2014.


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