Click here to close now.

Welcome!

CloudExpo® Blog Authors: Liz McMillan, Adrian Bridgwater, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: CloudExpo® Blog

CloudExpo® Blog: 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
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of E...
Amazon and Google have built software-defined data centers (SDDCs) that deliver massively scalable services with great efficiency. Yet, building SDDCs has proven to be a near impossibility for companies without hyper-scale resources. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, David Cauthron, CTO and Founder of NIMBOXX, highlighted how a mid-sized manufacturer of global industrial equipment bridged the gap from virtualization to software-defined services, streamlining operations and costs while connect...
Container technology is sending shock waves through the world of cloud computing. Heralded as the 'next big thing,' containers provide software owners a consistent way to package their software and dependencies while infrastructure operators benefit from a standard way to deploy and run them. Containers present new challenges for tracking usage due to their dynamic nature. They can also be deployed to bare metal, virtual machines and various cloud platforms. How do software owners track the usag...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
paradigm shifts in networking, to cloud and licensure, and all the Internet of Things in between. In 2014 automation was the name of the game. In his session at DevOps Summit, Matthew Joyce, a Sales Engineer at Big Switch, will discuss why in 2015 it’s complexity reduction. Matthew Joyce, a sales engineer at Big Switch, is helping push networking into the 21st century. He is also a hacker at NYC Resistor. Previously he worked at NASA Ames Research Center with the Nebula Project (where OpenSta...
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will address the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affec...
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 this session, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the ...
While there are hundreds of public and private cloud hosting providers to choose from, not all clouds are created equal. If you’re seeking to host enterprise-level mission-critical applications, where Cloud Security is a primary concern, WHOA.com is setting new standards for cloud hosting, and has established itself as a major contender in the marketplace. We are constantly seeking ways to innovate and leverage state-of-the-art technologies. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Mike Rivera, Seni...
EMC Corporation on Tuesday announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Virtustream. When the transaction closes, Virtustream will form EMC’s new managed cloud services business. The acquisition represents a transformational element of EMC’s strategy to help customers move all applications to cloud-based IT environments. With the addition of Virtustream, EMC completes the industry’s most comprehensive hybrid cloud portfolio to support all applications, all workl...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to DevOps Summit 2015 as Conference Chair. The 4th International DevOps Summit will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at ...
Enterprises are fast realizing the importance of integrating SaaS/Cloud applications, API and on-premises data and processes, to unleash hidden value. This webinar explores how managers can use a Microservice-centric approach to aggressively tackle the unexpected new integration challenges posed by proliferation of cloud, mobile, social and big data projects. Industry analyst and SOA expert Jason Bloomberg will strip away the hype from microservices, and clearly identify their advantages and d...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enter...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
Thanks to widespread Internet adoption and more than 10 billion connected devices around the world, companies became more excited than ever about the Internet of Things in 2014. Add in the hype around Google Glass and the Nest Thermostat, and nearly every business, including those from traditionally low-tech industries, wanted in. But despite the buzz, some very real business questions emerged – mainly, not if a device can be connected, or even when, but why? Why does connecting to the cloud cre...
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust...
Imagine a world where targeting, attribution, and analytics are just as intrinsic to the physical world as they currently are to display advertising. Advances in technologies and changes in consumer behavior have opened the door to a whole new category of personalized marketing experience based on direct interactions with products. The products themselves now have a voice. What will they say? Who will control it? And what does it take for brands to win in this new world? In his session at @Thi...