Netizen Report

Update on the status of NTC hearings on minimum broadband speeds

Following public clamor for better internet service in the Philippines, the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship conducted a public hearing attended by the NTC, telco representatives, and ICT advocates. Soon after, the NTC announced that it would be issuing a memorandum order on minimum broadband speeds.

The NTC conducted initial hearings and afterwards formed a technical working group composed of representatives of internet service providers, and ICT advocates and researchers. After months of meetings, the NTC has announced that it would soon issue the memorandum order on minimum broadband speeds.

Proposal of Democracy.Net.PH

  1. ISPs should state the quality of service and subscription information for each of their service offerings.
    • service rate
    • minimum downstream and upstream data rates
    • data and service reliability rates
    • data cap
    • subscriber outage period
    • subscriber throttling period
    • rebate rates
    • areas where these terms and conditions are applicable
  2. Overall reliability (including data + service) should not be below 80%.
  3. Publicize fair use policy and data cap, both to be approved by the NTC.
  4. ISPs should give refund or rebates for service interruptions without need for demand.
  5. The NTC should set the tool for subscribers to measure quality of service. The NTC shall also use the tool for its own measurements.

Position of telcos (Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators)

  1. Test only subscriber complaints versus ISP-advertised statements.
  2. Measurement
    • Measurement should be done at the “IN” port of the ISP.
    • NTC and telco should agree on the conditions of the testing: time, place, test samples, etc. The telcos insist that location of the testing should be known beforehand.
    • Devices to be used for testing should be ISP-issued.
    • Testing should be done only within the telco’s network.

LIRNEAsia recommendations

  1. Use different metrics for fixed (wired and wireless) and for mobile broadband.
  2. Use different metrics for compliance and monitoring.
  3. Measurement should be done at several times per day and several days per week, including weekends, and at multiple locations.
  4. Measurement should be done via multiple domains, with at least one local and one international.
  5. ISPs should publish typical and average download speeds per location, determined using an NTC-approved measuring tool.
  6. NTC will do its own measurements, which should be published two weeks after measurement is completed.
  7. A measuring tool should also be made available to the public.

Based on the discussions and exchange of papers, it appears that the NTC is considering the following approach:

  1. ISPs shall indicate the average data rate, downstream and upstream per area.
  2. Advertisements and subscription contracts shall state the service rates.
  3. Measurement
    • The following parameters shall be measured: downstream and upstream average data rate, latency, jitter, packet loss.
    • Measurement shall be done using standard devices, available free of charge.
    • Measurement shall be done in a combination of known and unknown locations.
    • The servers to be accessed shall be within the local ISP network, within the national network, and outside the Philippines.
    • NTC shall perform the tests during peak and off-peak hours, using different data plans, and at least twice a week.
    • NTC shall prescribe the measurement tool, which shall also be available for download and use by the public.
    • No testing done during adverse weather conditions.
  4. Measurement results shall be published within five days. The NTC is considering either of the following options for the published results:
    • average the results for each ISP
    • average the results for all ISPs (Huh? Why?)
  5. Periods of service interruption shall not be billed.
  6. Data capping/fair use policy
    • ISPs can set data caps, which shall not be less than 80% of what is the theoretical maximum under the data plan. There shall be no upstream data caps.
    • ISPs should indicate the fair use policy in their contracts.
    • ISPs should provide notifications for subscribers to know when the data cap is about to be breached, when the throttling will begin and end. ISPs shall not be allowed to throttle if it does not provide this notification system to its subscriber.

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