Gatchalian urges telcos to provide subscribers with optimum broadband speed (Philippines News Agency)

Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian welcomed the move of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to start testing next month the actual Internet speed that service providers are providing to users and compare it with the advertised speeds as mandated by the NTC’s latest memorandum circular.

But Gatchalian was quick to add that the NTC should have done the testing a long time ago with the numerous complaints being amplified in the social media about the slow Internet speed in the country.

Even without NTC testing, there have been reports that the Philippines has one of the slowest broadband speed not just in Asia, but in the world, said Gatchalian, who admits being heavy user of the Internet.

It’s about time that telecommunications companies stop shortchanging their Internet subscribers by providing optimum broadband speed just like in other Southeast Asian countries, he added.

The Ookla household download index, which compares and ranks consumer download speeds around the globe, showed the Philippines ranked 176 out of 202 countries as of May 2015.

The Philippines’ household download speed was 3.64 Megabit per second (Mbps), the second lowest among Asian countries in the index. The broadband speed in the Philippines was also way below the global average of 23.3 Mbps.

Ookla said results were obtained by analyzing test data between April 18, 2015 and May 17, 2015. The only Asian country that had a slower download speed than the Philippines was Afghanistan, which had a download speed of 2.52 Mbps.

In terms of upload speed, the Philippines ranked even lower on the index – 178 out of 202 countries with an average upload speed of 1.53 Mbps. This was significantly lower than the global average of 10.59 Mbps.

The cost per Mbps in the Philippines was also one of the most expensive with an average value of USD18.18. To compare, the global average is USD5.21. The value is the median monthly cost in US dollars per Mbps.

This is completely unacceptable since telcos are so strict in disconnecting their Internet service to subscribers who fail to pay their bills and yet, the service that they give is not commensurate to their subscription rate, Gatchalian said.

During a Senate hearing Tuesday, NTC Director Edgardo Cabarios said based on the circular they issued Saturday, they should publish the Internet speed every month and the measurement should be done twice a week.

The NTC official also assured the committee that the commission has the capability to conduct the tests nationwide, saying they have 15 regional offices.

Also during the hearing, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said they were now drafting another memorandum circular for the speed of mobile broadband, which they expect to publish next week.

Under NTC MC 07-08-2015, Internet service providers that have a minimum speed of less than 256 kbps cannot advertise themselves as broadband providers. Broadband providers are required to have speeds of over 256 kbps at least 24 days in a month, otherwise the provider will be sanctioned.

Based on the Ookla report, Singapore ranked 1st on the index with a blistering broadband speed of 122.43 Mbps, followed by Hong Kong with 102.96 Mbps and Saint Pierre and Miquelon with 97.11 Mbps.

Japan ranked 4th with 82.12 Mbps, followed by Romania with 73.75 Mbps, South Korea with 59.77 Mbps, Sweden with 58.48 Mbps and Lithuania with 58.43 Mbps. Macau and Netherlands rounded out the top 10 with speeds of 50.85 and 50.66 Mbps, respectively. (PNA)

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