Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski, Esmeralda Swartz, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Internet in the Philippines - Why So Slow?

The Country Badly Trails Neighboring Malaysia and Vietnam

To judge by conversations I've had, tweets that I've read, and my own experience, there is dissatisfaction with bandwidth speeds in the Philippines.

This is a serious issue in an age when high-speed connections are a primary driver of social and economic development, as they empower social networking, increase the ability of manufacturers and service providers to compete globally, and facilitate innovation.

Give me a connection fast enough and I can move the world. The problem in the Philippines, and in many other places, is the connections simply aren't fast enough.

A Relative Comparison
I did a recent study comparing bandwidth speeds against the relative wealth of societies. The idea is that a highly developed nation should be able to afford the infrastructure for higher speed connections. Thus, a 10- to 11-Mbps average in the United States is less impressive than a similar speed in, say, Russia.

By looking at bandwidth this way, on a relative basis, I uncovered some stars and some laggards.

Overall, the Top 10 countries - in terms of the amount of bandwidth they get for each dollar of per-person income - include several former Soviet satellites, Vietnam, and South Korea. The United States is in the middle of the pack of the 82 countries I surveyed.

By region, Canada leads North America, Chile leads Central and South America, Sweden leads Western Europe, Ukraine leads Eastern Europe, Kenya leads Sub-Saharan Africa, Morocco leads Northern Africa, and the UAE leads the Middle East.

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam is the clear leader among the "Big Six" economies, followed by Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

The Philippines' average speed of 1.7Mbps badly trails those of neighboring Malaysia (3.1Mbps) and Vietnam (9.2Mbps).

I have not yet factored the percentage of people who have access to the Internet into the formula, nor what percentage of usage is by individuals versus business and government. This could be a critical factor, for example, in weighing the Internet's benefit to society within the Philippines' democracy versus Vietnam's Communist regime.

Why So Slow?
But let's not distracted from the question at hand: why do we get such slow connections in the Philippines?

It's easy enough to blame the country's two major telcos - PLDT (which does business in the wireless space as Smart Communications) and Globe Telecom - and SkyCable, its primary DSL provider.

Although the telcos have significant international investors, all of these companies are run by some of the local oligarchs who own most things in the Philippines. The country's constitution forbids more than 40% ownership in most businesses, which of course hardly makes for a free competitive market in the country.

Telcos aren't the most competition-friendly companies anywhere, as Americans familiar with Verizon, AT&T, Canadians familiar with Telus and Rogers, and many others can attest. Cable companies are no better.

Back to Bandwidth
So moving away from debate about the Philippines' 60/40 rule, it could be that there is simply not enough bandwidth entering the country at this point, regardless of how the providers are owned and run.

Based on information provided by Philippine developer JP Loh, Michael Hamlin at TeamAsia, and the government's Office on Information and Communications Technology (OICT), there is about 1.18Tbps coming into the Philippines from eight fiber-optic submarine cables.

(A much smaller amount comes from two communications satellites, including Mabuhay One, funded partly by PLDT and launched into space by the Chinese in 1997.)

Yet that 1.18Tbps will support only one million 1Mbps running at full blast simultaneously. Given that an estimated 30 million people in the country access the Internet, the number of connections is certainly in the millions. Seems there's something not adding up well here.

The country is due for a major upgrade late this year, when the Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE) comes online. This is a 4,300-mile, US$300 million behemoth serving Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is funded partially by PLDT, and is said to have 15Tbps capacity, more than ten times the amount entering the Philippines today.

What Then?
How much of that will be provisioned to the Philippines is unknown, as is how much of the provisioning will be deployed.

The major source of frustration for me - and from what I've heard, from others - in the Philippines is not the speed per se but a pervasive failure by the providers to deliver what they promise.

My own situation is that PLDT, which has a major office two blocks from me, hasn't accepted new wired service requests for some time, Globe doesn't accept any new requests in my neighborhood, and SkyCable could only provide TV service. 

I had once choice, a wireless connection from PLDT's Smart subsidiary - it promises 1Mbps but usually delivers 200-300Kbps, throttled down to dial-up speeds most week-ends. As I said, dissatisfaction.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
Containers are all the rage among developers and web companies, but they also represent two very substantial benefits to larger organizations. First, they have the potential to dramatically accelerate the application lifecycle from software builds and testing to deployment and upgrades. Second they represent the first truly hybrid-approach to consuming infrastructure, allowing organizations to run the same workloads on any cloud, virtual machine or physical server. Together, they represent a ver...
As operational failure becomes more acceptable to discuss within the software industry, the necessity for holding constructive, actionable postmortems increases. But most of what we know about postmortems from "pop culture" isn't actually relevant for the software systems we work on and within. In his session at DevOps Summit, J. Paul Reed will look at postmortem pitfalls, techniques, and tools you'll be able to take back to your own environment so they will be able to lay the foundations for h...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet condit...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
DevOps Summit, taking place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and Javits Center in New York City, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
DevOps and Continuous Delivery software provider XebiaLabs has announced it has been selected to join the Amazon Web Services (AWS) DevOps Competency partner program. The program is designed to highlight software vendors like XebiaLabs who have demonstrated technical expertise and proven customer success in DevOps and specialized solution areas like Continuous Delivery. DevOps Competency Partners provide solutions to, or have deep experience working with AWS users and other businesses to help t...
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll sha...
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively.
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driv...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends an...