Just Wondering…

Just wondering if anyone else in the Philippines suffers from ‘net rage’ as much as I do?

“Net rage’ is similar to road rage (made famous in LA decades ago), but “net rage” takes place on the info super hiway and is brought about by consistent slow and/or unstable net connection resulting in a loss of time, work, needed information and interrupted streaming. This will usually conclude with your screaming at your computer and repeatedly banging a poor defenceless modem.

18kbps copyThis past Friday evening my “net rage” at Globe reached an all time high. Dealing with no connection is one thing, but an incredibly slow connection is another. I recently moved to a quite area about one hour north of Ayala center in Cebu. I opted for Globe DSL as I had experienced a mountain of ‘net rage’ from PLDT DSL when I lived in La Union a few years back.

The fastest plan I could get in this area was for 5mbps download. (As a point of reference, for this same price in Canada I can get 40 mbps download and 300gig.) I wanted much faster, but this was all the antiquated infrastructure in this are could handle. I noticed on the application that this plan is MAX 5 mbps (it hit 4.5 once but usually hovers around 2.5) with a guaranteed speed of 256kbps. I could not help but smile as I read this as I recollected a time almost two decades earlier when 256k modems were introduced in Canada.

Back to Friday, after waiting 5 min for a news feed to load, I (like many before me) boldly turned to the all knowing Ookla to run a speed test. The first test took about 5 min to finish (I was amazed it stayed connected through the whole process) and registered a staggering .18 mbps download rate. My WTF? Reaction prompted a retest. .17 mbps. OK, maybe it had something to do with it being Friday at 7pm, even though it had never been this bad before. Jump ahead to 2:30 am Saturday morning and I again turn to Ookla. .17 download and .65 upload. WTF?!?!?!

Side note: Given the interactive nature of the web in the 21st century, I am amazed that both Globe and PLDT still only offer such paltry upload speeds.

I recently saw an article where one of the Phil Presidential hopefuls is thinking about opening up the Telco market to foreign companies to address the issue. However, as I understand it, Globe’s biggest shareholder is Singtel, and PLDT’s is a Malaysian company. This foreign ownership has not addressed the situation at all.

A young Philippine developer recently posted a detailed analysis of trying to run Netflix (which is now available in the Philippines) on a PLDT 8mbps DSL line. The result was even more abysmal that expected. Her bottom line was that you can still get better video and sound quality by illegally downloading your favourite TV and movies. (Image  1 below)

netflix review

Image 1: Netflix review on PLDT

At this point I also began to wonder what strategies us users (TRON reference) can take to remedy this eternally frustrating situation. One innovative user in the US has set up an automated system that checks speed every hour and sends a tweet to the provider when it drops below a certain speed. (Link 1 below). If that happened here, Globe and PLDT would be inundated with a million messages a day and may improve service just to stop all the complaining. Alternatively, what might happen if a group of Globe and PLDT DSL business and personal users initiated respective class-action law suits based on loss of use, loss of access to paid sites, loss of revenue, etc. I wonder if this would prompt either or both of these companies to greatly increase both their customer service (don’t get me started about that!!!) and their physical infrastructure, especially outside of urban centers.

Link 1: https://upvoted.com/2016/01/31/redditor-sets-up-automated-way-to-tweet-at-comcast-whenever-their-internet-speeds-drop/?utm_content=buffercbf99&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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