Is broadband in the Philippines good enough?

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By Alexander Villafania

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA – How do Internet services here compare with those offered by telecommunications companies in other countries ? Are we really geting our money’s worth?

Broadband penetration in the Philippines remains small. Just over two million broadband subscribers based on the consolidated numbers of two of the largest telecommunications firms, Globe Telecom and PLDT. Breaking it down further, that’s 715,000 for Globe and 1.6 million for PLDT.

While the cost of Internet subscription has gone significantly over the years, some broadband subscribers still feel cheated about slow connections. In fact, one group had previously put up an online petition to protest the slow service of PLDT’s myDSL service. Rival player Globe also has its own share of “haters” up until today.

Many countries measure the amount of broadband bandwidth delivered based on a monthly subscription of 20 US dollars (or approximately 900 pesos). Globe offers their basic Internet service package of 1 megabits per second at 995 pesos (the next highest package is 10Mbps at 3,995 pesos). PLDT has a similar offer of 1Mbps under a P999 plan, as well as their highest residential plan of 3Mbps for P3,000 monthly.

In comparison, Singapore’s StarHub, offers its most basic Internet package at 29 Singapore dollars (approximately 1,000 pesos, which has a download speed of 2Mbps, twice as fast as the packages provided by Globe and PLDT. Singtel, another big Singaporean telecommunications firm, offers an even better home broadband package: 28 Singapore dollars per month for a 3Mbps connection, plust a high definition TV box.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s True Online has a 4Mbps basic package at 599 bhat (approximately 800 pesos). Indonesia’s Telkomsel has a 3.6Mbps package at Rp400,000 (approximately 2,000 pesos). Hong Kong and HKBN offers a whopping 100Mbps for only 99 Hongkong dollars  (500 pesos). Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom has 1Mbps package at 589 Taiwanese dollars (800 pesos).

Then again, it also doesn’t come as surprise that South Korea and Japan are leading the way in terms of Internet speed. Both provide faster than broadband Internet at US$20. A quick view of SpeedTest.net’s global ranking shows that Korea and Japan (with the exception of the Aland Islands and Latvia) are leading in the broadband Internet test. You could just stop counting how fast they are because they are REALLY fast.

Comparing broadband services with a countries that are at least three years more technologically advanced than the Philippines might be like comparing apples to oranges. But the fact remains that Internet use has been growing in he last three years and the Philippines is fast becoming a major market for for social networking services.

That said, maybe the increase in bandwidth and lower price could push the penetration of broadband Internet in the Philippines even further.


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