NTC begins measurement of fixed broadband speeds in PH

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By Carlos Nazareno The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) officially started on Thursday, Sept.17, its new system for testing the broadband speeds of local ISPs (Internet service providers), which are now comprised basically of telecom firms. [caption id="attachment_28527" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Photo: Carlos Nazareno Photo: Carlos Nazareno[/caption] Before the media, NTC deputy commissioner Delilah Deles presented the agency?s newly acquired JDSU Handheld Services Testers (HST) attached to broadband routers of the preliminary ISPs being tested: Bayan Telecommunications, Globe Telecom, PLDT and Sky Cable. The NTC?s new equipment is capable of measuring both on-net (within the country) and off-net (international) metrics — specifically, upstream and downstream:

? Throughput (upload/download speeds) ? Jitter (consistency) ? Latency (ping time) ? Frame (data packet) loss

Deles demonstrated the process of starting up the units. The measuring session against an FTP (file transfer protocol) server was then held, taking up about an hour to complete. The consumer plans that were tested were:

? BayanDSL — up to 2 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream Asymmetric DSL ? Globe — up to 3 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream Symmetric DSL ? PLDT — up to 3Mbps downstream/1Mbps upstream Asymetric DSL ? Sky Broadband — up to 3Mbps downstream/1Mbps upstream (with 55Mbps/5Mbps being tested the day before)

Initial measurements from the previous day were then distributed to attendees of the pilot testing during the open forum. Most of the ISPs tested were within standard parameters. However, results from the testing on Thursday that were similar to the previous day’s results also showed that some of the ISPs had significant upstream frame loss ? which is notable since most consumer plans typically do not prioritize upstream data. Bayan Telecommunication also encountered technical difficulties during the testing and released this official statement:
“The data presented from the pilot NTC test of measuring the Internet speed of fixed broadband speed of service providers were the initial results taken from a test environment, located at a specific location (the NTC premises) and point in time. There is reason to believe that it may not present an accurate reading of our service to our customers. ?There are a host of other factors — technical and non-technical in nature — that could very well affect the speed of Internet service like latency error, signal loss, proximity of network equipment, etc. ?In our continuous effort to improve our services, we will be working closely with the NTC to validate these results and will cooperate to identify improvement areas to better serve our customers.”
Observers noted that the ISP testing done at the NTC office was only at a single site and a single point in time. During an actual testing proper, ISPs will be monitored from multiple sites initially in Metro Manila at different days of the week and times of the day as ISP performance may also change according to these variables. [caption id="attachment_28528" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Photo: Carlos Nazareno Photo: Carlos Nazareno[/caption] Along with known testing points, the NTC will also be doing blind tests from testing points not known beforehand by the ISPs, and will also be testing performance both within an ISP’s network and outside an ISP’s network. Testing will be rolled out to other parts of the country once the process has been ironed out in the National Capital Region. The NTC will also be conducting its measurements at least twice a week during a month and the averaged metrics per area per ISP will be released to the media not later than five days from the end of each month. Results of the tests will also be made available to the public upon request, starting October or November. With the measurement and public dissemination of the test results, Philippine ISPs will be able to concretely identify problem areas and improve their services in order that consumers will be able to get what they are paying for as advertised.]]>

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