Impending NTC circular on broadband allows data cap, adopts ?average? speed

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NTC A copy of the draft circular has already been sent to the media. While still technically a draft memo, the final version is likely to contain the same details since the circular has already undergone consultations with the public and industry stakeholders. In the order, broadband is defined as having a connection rate of at least 256kbps, which is the minimum download speed that telcos can offer to subscribers. When offering broadband service to prospective customers, service providers are required to specify the average data rate, downstream and upstream per geographical area. The data cap, formally called by local telcos as the ?Fair Use Policy,? is also permitted by the NTC memorandum ?provided that the subscriber is informed automatically when the volume consumed has reached 80%, 85%, 90%, and 95%.? ?When the data volume consumed has reached 100%, the subscriber will be automatically informed that if he or she opts to continue the service, he or she will be charged the normal rates for such service,? the circular indicated. Service providers with less than 5,000 subscribers may opt to establish a ?help desk? hotline number instead of an automatic system, which a subscriber can call to find out how much volume of data is still available. Under the circular, the NTC is also required to monitor and measure the following:

? Average data rate for downstream and upstream, ? Latency (total time for a data packet to travel from one node to another), ? Jitter (deviation of high-frequency digital signals), and ? Packet loss (failure of one or more transmitted packets to arrive at their destination).

To ensure reliability of the results of the monitoring and measurements, the memo mandates the NTC to perform the monitoring and measurements during peak and off peak hours, using different subscriber broadband access data plans. The monitoring and measurements will be performed by the regulatory body at least twice a week. If the ISP falls short of the advertised data speed, it will be subsequently notified and will have five days to submit an explanation.]]>

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