Better services and not just faster broadband speeds

The good news is that Globe is moving together with other telecommunication companies in Southeast Asia to lay down a fiberoptic cable that would connect the region with Japan which in effect would add 30 Gbps to our country’s current total bandwidth capacity of 21 Gbps.

Well and good. I would not dwell on the sentiments shared by fellow Filipinos on Facebook, which I share with them, that internet speeds in the country are still decades behind compared to speeds enjoyed in our Southeast Asian neighbors, instead I’d like to shed light on another aspect of broadband internet which I feel is the twin brother of faster connection speeds.

That my friends and readers would be the quality of services offered by telecommunication firms here in the Philippines. Assuming perhaps that internet speeds were upgraded to be on par with that of our neighboring countries in SE Asia, say the entry subscription speeds would be around 10mbps, that speed would be all for naught if the service gets regularly plagued with problems like intermittent connections, slow technical support response and predatory billing practices.

We all know this, a quick downpour of rain be it in parts of Metro Manila or in the provinces, the chances of connections being intermittent or completely lost are high because the local telcos have yet to upgrade their local lines and facilities which are already decades old.

They keep on harping that more and more Filipinos are signing up for broadband services but the pace in keeping their services and facilities to meet the growing demand is still dismally slow.

Take my experience last June of 2008 wherein I requested for an upgrade of my Globe Broadband connection speed. It was rejected because their facilities in Cavite have reached their full capacity and there’s no word yet on when would new capacity would be installed.

Adding insult to injury, my account has been assigned to a faulty port in their local hub or “cabinet” (of switches and ports) which is the reason why for every two months, my connection would become intermittent. And no matter how many technicians they send over to have a look at it, they could not remedy the problem because the problem lies with their facility itself which requires an upgrade they have yet to decide on when to carry out.

The problem is not just with Globe Telecom. Last September 2008, my aunt wanted to avail of a land line service from PLDT for her own use. Unfortunately, PLDT’s local facilities were also filled to their capacity and so she had to look for another telco just to get a land line service.

Besides their problematic physical facilities, we consumers have to suffer from their predatory or erroneous billing systems and practices as experienced first hand by Ms Noemi and we all know that she is not the only one who has had the same problem.

This is why I find it strange that telcos are so eager to invest money in upgrading their connection speeds when what we consumers really need is a reliable and fair land line and internet broadband service. There’s only so much we could do with super fast internet connections but, as I’ve said earlier, if such connections are unreliable, cause more stress and burn holes in our wallets then its rubbish! Telcos don’t deserve our hard-earned money and they don’t have the right to crown themselves the best or most popular service provider in the country.

So we might welcome the upgrade in bandwidth and connection speeds, such upgrade must also be done to their services and physical facilities because we’re paying for it and we have every right to have it.

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