The Probe on internet subscriber woes

Something nerve-wracking, exciting and potentially controversial happened to me today. A crew from The Probe (we are more familiar with them as The Probe Team) came by my residence this lunch time and interviewed me on camera about the love-and-hate relationship with I have my internet service provider Globelines Broadband.

Blog friends, colleagues in my freelance stints and the loyal readers of this blog know all too well the story of this relationship with Globelines or Innove. In fact, this blog ranks pretty well in the SERPs for the keywords; “globelines, broadband, router, internet speed, Taiwan quake and repair.”

Why so? At first, I was a happy Globelines broadband subscriber, that upgrade last 2006 from 384kbps to 512kbps for free even made me happier. When the Taiwan earthquake struck our side of Asia last January, it revealed how crappy their services could be. It was so crappy, my experience led me to believe that Globelines never fully recovered from the quake or it has shaken off ilusions that they were better than the other providers. It climaxed last April when in the middle of an important blogging series and my first-time freelance job, I lost my internet connection and it took 5 whole days before they were able to restore my connection. Along with it, tons of human aggravation, an abrupt end to the blogging series and losing that job. I just hated them back then.

The ordeal was far from over because just after 25 days or so, the connection became intermittent once more. Again it took 5 days to fix this by giving me a new modem/router. Since then, many subscribers with the same or even worse experience found those entries of mine chronicling my unsatisfactory and costly subscription with Globelines broadband and voiced out their experiences, gripes and disgust of the service as well. Since then, the quality of my internet connection has also gone from crappy to crappier. Though I’m not experiencing complete loss of connections lasting for days. I had have to restart my modem/router every 3 hours or so because the connection would just stop, or there are times in the day that their speed is slow, very slow. Signs that even in high-speed internet services, there are peak and off-peak hours, despite the “unlimited broadband” connection I and many others have signed up and continues to pay for.

Moment of spotlight

Ms Hera SanchezSpoilers of the interview right? Well that’s just half of the story, or rather what I told The Probe led by Segment Producer Art Fuentes, Ms Hera Sanchez, the one who actually interviewed me, and their hard working camera crew.

Second thoughts ran through my mind about pushing through with the interview which was initiated last Monday, I think, when I first recieved an email from Sir Art via this blog’s contact form. I sought the advice of my mother, my blogging mentors J Angelo and Sexy Mom on how to go on with the interview. My mom said that Globelines, the big corporation that it is, might go after me once I appear on camera and starts to bad-mouth them and their crappy internet services. SexyMom and J Angelo had almost similar concerns but they made clear that I must be fair, act and say something only on the basis of the facts and first-hand experience I had, no more, no less.

However, my mind was made up and I’ve decided on pushing through with the interview with the intent and hope that through this exposure (read: shameless self-promotion), I might be able to put the message across to the internet service providers, not just Globelines, that it’s not enough they provide promos and fast connections. They should back it up with quality customer services and support, because people are actually paying money for this kind of service.

The second concern I had was, where the heck would I let them interview me? I had bigger worries when Sir Art told me that he wanted to film me with my computer, re-enacting some daily blogging routines and stuff. My computer was in my bedroom, and the idea of having an investigative media crew inside my room was like being in MTV’s “Room Raiders” or being a contestant in Big Brother. And I’m telling you, my room is much like your average college guy’s room. Laundry, books, bags, papers, socks and who knows what all over the place, I prefer to call it “organized chaos.” On top of that, my room is not that spacious to comfortably accomodate 5 people and some filming equipment.

More organized chaos

Sir Art and Ms Hera interviewingNonetheles, I had no other choice but to wake up early and do a major room clean-up. Had breakfast, took a bath and waited for their arrival. Soon enough, at around lunch time, they finally came and after short introductions, we proceeded upstairs to have everything setup for the interview. It was quite a challenge as the second floor of our hosue was not that spacious so we moved a couple of drawers here and there until Sir Art was happy with the lighting, the camera angle and audio setup.

The interview proper went on smoothly, at the most. Ms Hera gave me a few tips on how to act or behave during the interview as to help me calm down and help me answer the questions clearly and as correct as I can. You wouldn’t want to be misquoted or to look like an idiot on national TV. The interview was done in Filipino though there were some English words and terms that got inserted in my replies. I won’t mention the questions or topics we talked about, just watch the episode this coming Wednesday on ABS-CBN. :mrgreen:

During the shooting of some additional ‘scenes’ like me using the internet, blogging and doing my daily routine with the computer, I got to talk about blogging and how it has transformed my life as an individual, a student and as an advocate. I also stressed how crucial the internet is to bloggers, a few basics about troubleshooting your broadband connection and I tried to show them and on cam, how to measure the actual speed of your internet connection via online tools like Speedtest.net (Hat tip to Sir J Angelo!)

Embarrassingly, when I tried to do a test of the speed of my Globelines broadband, it failed because for some strange reason, I was not able to ping the test servers in California. So there, right in front of the Probe, Globelines screwed up! 🙄

After we wrapped up my interview. We went out to visit my kababayan or townmate the internet cafe owner who subscribed to Globelines broadband for her business when she first opened it. It was, as the Probe found out, a mistake for her. The details of her harrowing experience, of course would be shown in the episode when it airs this coming Wednesday, August 22.

In case you do miss the episode, be sure to check their website because they’ll post it there too. Besides, the site it self is a treasure trove of good quality video-documentaries and short indie films.

I never realized that through blogging, I’d have this kind of experience, like being interviewed on camera by some A-list media group. I imagined it to be like giving a talk about blogging or being featured by some of the mainstream media outfits for being one of the most successful bloggers around. 😉

Oh well, at least I’ve done something with blogging that will concretely serve the interests of the online Pilipino community, better services from our ISPs.

PS

To Sir Art, Ms Hera and the crew, thank you very very much for this opportunity. Oh and thanks for the free lunch as well.

The free lunch they gave was not a bribe or any reward for doing the interview with them or for me to link to their site. They were just that nice and generous. :mrgreen:

UPDATE:

Sir Art Fuentes of The Probe just informed me tru YM that the coverage about broadband concerns has been bumped-off to next week, August 29, 2007 to give way to their Ninoy Aquino Day special episode. Do watch it still, and keep in mind “is the Filipino still dying for?”

14 Comments

  1. I had been following your Globelines story before I became a subscriber. I found out that there are different contractors in cities/towns. Fortunately my Globelines is the best of my 3 ISPs. Often intermitent is PLDT and Smart Broadband.

    oh yes blogging can surely help the rest of our internet subscribers. It's about time they fix their act and NOT overload their servers. I will keep this date in mind. You have contributed to the blogosphere through this interview. Great job.

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  2. oh, Jhay, you are a celebrity now. i'm sure you made good.

    many bloggers would be interested to watch your interview–it will benefit a lot of us if the providers become serious with their services.

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  3. Well, gee, guess what? My dad's planning to apply on Globelines.

    I've read your Globelines posts for the past couple of months. It's just about time that this gets aired out not only on your blog.

    Congrats. Famous ka na. :p

    Reply

  4. […] Jhay shared his concerns about testifying for an upcoming TV feature by The Probe. The story, which will air on Wednesday the 22nd of August (on ABS CBN, 11:00PM) will tackle the state of broadband connectivity in the Philippines. I was also interviewed by them that afternoon and my hesitations were more like “am I fairly representing the entire Smart Wifi subscribers when I share my opinion about the issues plaguing the entire broadband market in the country?”. […]

    Reply

  5. Dealing with that issue has been long overdue. I guess it's a good thing news people read through blogs now. I'm actually thankful for your blog posts on Globelines that helped me realize I've got a better connection with PLDT, as I've never really had so much downtime, and I get speed boosts once in a while (hoping for it to be consistent, though). 🙂

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  6. I can't wait to see this one…I've been toying with the idea of subscribing to a broadband subscription myself but stories like yours (and others as well) make me think not just twice or thrice but perhaps a thousand times 🙂

    Btw, The Probe also gets replayed on Saturdays/Sundays (can't remember the exact schedule) at the ANC cable channel, so cable subscribers who'll miss the Wednesday telecast should be able to catch up on the coming weekend 🙂

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  7. Wow! You’re now a celebrity man! 😀

    It’s good that they’ll have it on their website so I can get to watch it too. I’m sure you did a good job. You posts about Globelines helped a lot of people and with this segment/feature from The Probe, these big telcos would improve their services and support for their customers.

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  8. @ noemi: You're right mam, I talked to Carlo Roxas, fellow blogger from Cavite and Globelines subscriber too, he had far worse experience than me and he did found out for himself that Innove outsources its technical support to local contractors here.

    But that's not an excuse for their lousy service, if it is, is this not a form of discrimination?

    Well, I'm glad you're having a better experience with your Globelines.

    I hope this feature will really knock some sense into the heads and conscience of those Telcos.

    @ SexyMom: Hahaha, I guess I am. But I never expected to be famous through this particular way.

    But heck, as long as it will be of help for everyone, then it would be my pleasure to do it again.

    @ Shari: So did your dad signed up to Globelines already?

    How is it?

    I remember your comment on those entries, I'm glad it helped in a way.

    Hmm.. ano nga kaya kung makuha nating sponsor ang Globelines sa BK1? hehehe

    @ Aja Lapus: Right on. It's just sad that it's the media who's taken the first step in helping out the consumers. So much for those social corporate responsibilities right?

    Strange thing though, my friends who are on PLDT are having it rough too. Everytime it rains here in our area, they do not only lose their connection, they even lose their dial-tones as well!

    What is it with these telcos, is just because we're in the provinces? Sheesh!

    @ Titopao: Right on. It's just sad that it's the media who's taken the first step in helping out the consumers. So much for those social corporate responsibilities right?

    Strange thing though, my friends who are on PLDT are having it rough too. Everytime it rains here in our area, they do not only lose their connection, they even lose their dial-tones as well!

    What is it with these telcos, is just because we're in the provinces? Sheesh!

    @ Jaypee: I told my classmates about this, and when they found out I was interviewed because I blogged about my complaints against Globelines, they said that "finally, the activist in you got it's media attention" 😆

    What a way to be famous right?

    I just hope this episode will help all internet subscribers in the country, encourage them to speak up and do something concrete and in a collective manner like a petition to the NTC or ask for a Congressional review or something. (Wait, that's good, I'll write those down)

    @ Manila Freelancer: I hope everyone else with a problem with any internet service provider would shout out and speak their voices. :mrgreen:

    Reply

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