Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Greg Ness, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: 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
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their small...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. 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 for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
Infor has announced a new feature Infor CloudSuite™ Aerospace & Defense (A&D) to aid compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The ITAR function will serve as a complementary function for new or existing Infor CloudSuite A&D customers, to facilitate compliance for Infor customers that are creating a US defense article or performing a US defense service and wish to benefit from cloud-services. The ITAR regulation serves to manage handling and access requirements for dat...
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...