“Up To” Broadband Speeds are Bogus

That’s according to a recent report of the FCC in the US — broadband subscribers in the US only get around 50% of the promised internet speeds by service providers.

If the report were for the Philippines, I would not be surprised. So, it’s not only us here but also in first world countries like the US & UK.

So I fired up my browser and checked Speed Test:

I’m subscribed to a 2Mbps connection and usually get around 1Mbps. Now that’s also 50% of promised (same %age loss like in the US).

I think the reason why, despite the similarities, the issue is more prominent with us here in the Philippines is not due to the percentage loss in the promised bandwidth but the amount of actual bandwidth itself.

In the US, if you’re subscribed to a 10Mbps connection and only get 5Mbps, I think you will not feel the difference especially when you’re just browsing the web or just watching YouTube.

However, in the Philippines, if you’re subscribed to 1Mbps and only get 512Kbps, you’d significantly feel the speed slowing down.

As an example, my WiFi b/g router at home promises up to 54Mbps speeds on my local network (that’s about 6.75MB/s transfer rate). However, if I try copying files over the WiFi network, I only get around 2.5MB/s (20Mbps). That’s only 37% of promised speed but I don’t complain because I don’t feel the connection being ‘slow’ despite the huge speed loss.

The gap between advertisement and reality isn’t a function of technology—it applied to all kinds of broadband connections, from cable to DSL to fiber. The less-than-ideal speeds aren’t necessarily the “fault” of the ISP, either; crufty computers, poky routers, misconfigured WiFi, transient line noise, and Internet congestion all play a role. {via Ars}

My suggestion is that if the promised speed (with the “up to” labeling) cannot be achieved, why not just change the label instead.

So, how about “Plan 999 @ up to 256Kbps” instead of the current “Plan 999 @ up to 1Mbps”? Then, even if they’re on a 256Kbps plan, put them on a 1Mbps pipe so that when the subscriber tests their speed and they get 512Kbps, they will be happy they got 200% of what they subscribed for.

That’s what I call “under-promise and over-deliver” and not the usual “over-promise and under-deliver” mantra we often get.

58 Comments on this Post

  1. SBW Subscriber

    Just wondering. Who else out there has problems with their Sun Broadband Wireless subscription? As far as i know, Sun is has the worst broadband service.

  2. a long time ago, i was w/ globelines broadband. it was 384kbps plus landline for 999/month.
    but i could reach up to 60kBps while downloading files.

  3. Siguro nakuha ng mga telco dito sa RP yung “up to” thing sa mga ping tests nila… :D

  4. daninjakitten

    I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to share my experience with Globe (In)Visibility prepaid unlimited. I documented this experience with two articles on FB, but I’ll spare you the rest and condense it to the essentials here.

    I’ve had my Globe USB modem for a few years now. I’d been a loyal customer of Globe wireless broadband (WBB)even when they still charged an arm and a leg for their uberslow and crappy service. I was really happy when they implemented the unlimited surfing product this year, as it obviously meant that I could get more internet time for less money, so I used to register everyday and surf to my heart’s content.

    After about two or three months of using the product, I suddenly found myself unable to register for it. Thinking that it was just a glitch (which happened A LOT), I called their customer service line for assistance. The CSR I spoke to said that it was just a temporary problem with the system and that I should just keep trying to register over the next few days.

    Tried registering off and on for the next few days, but after a while I’d gotten tired of trying and had my modem unlocked so I could use a different provider’s sim in it. (I chose Sun.) Sun’s access speeds also left a lot to be desired, but hey, at least I was back online.

    Three weeks after switching to Sun, I tried to register for Globe’s promo again, just to see if it was already working. Still no go. I called Globe’s customer service again to ask what the heck was going on. Below is a pretty accurate transcript of how the conversation went:

    “Ma’am,” he said, “Your access has been cut off due to excessive usage.”

    I thought I hadn’t heard him right. “Excuse me?”

    “Ma’am, your access has been cut off due to excessive usage. You’re not allowed to register for the Supersurf product for another 30 days.”

    My anger meter went from zero to 60 in 10 seconds flat. “What do you mean you’ve cut me off for excessive usage? Isn’t your product called SUPERSURF UNLIMITED INTERNET ACCESS?”

    “Yes, ma’am, but according to the records you are an excessive user, so the system cut off your access so that the other users on the network could have the bandwidth.”

    “So you’re telling me that you’re advertising a product for UNLIMITED ACCESS, but customers who buy it have to limit their usage?”

    “Yes, ma’am.”

    “In the first place, how can you tell me that I’m an excessive user if I don’t even reach the access speeds that you advertise? According to your ads, Tattoo users can have 2.2 Mbps access. The highest speed I’ve ever gotten was 250 Kbps, and that’s at three in the morning! I’d like to speak to your manager, please.”

    “Ma’am, even if you speak to my manager, wala rin po siyang magagawa. The system generated the cutoff.”

    “In the first place, I’m a paying customer, and I’m paying for a product that you advertised as unlimited. It was never stated anywhere in your ads that unlimited meant the opposite. Second, if your product had a usage cap, then you should have told your customers outright. Third, I find it very insulting that you cut off my access without even bothering to tell me, even via a system generated text message, that you’re cutting it off!”

    “Yes, ma’am…”

    “What’s the bandwidth cap?”

    “For prepaid users, ma’am, it’s 1 GB per day.”

    “1 GB per day??? If you’re a heavy surfer, that’s practically nothing!”

    “E ma’am…”

    “You know what? Never mind. You’ve just lost a customer for good. I’m also going to blog about this. Thanks for a very, very crappy experience, Globe.”

    “Sige po, ma’am. Thanks for calling. Tawag lang po kayo ulit kung may kailangan pa kayo.”


    The funny thing is, I checked their site for any fine print on the promo page, and I didn’t find anything that said they had a cap on the bandwidth. I made sure to save that entire section of the website, by the way, in case they suddenly decide to add it there and then point to the addendum should I decide to proceed with taking legal action against them.

    Ugh. For Pete’s sake. What is the point of advertising a product as unlimited access, then putting a cap on the access without even informing the consumer? Maybe someone ought to send them a copy of the American Heritage Dictionary. They could have easily sent out a system generated message saying that Supersurf users have a 1 GB access limit, since they’re so fond of sending text spam for their latest promos, anyway. I guess bait and switch is their favorite tactic for reeling in people’s hard-earned pesos.

    I through with Globe. For now, I’m sticking with Sun, despite the spotty signal in my area. I’m also looking into the possibility of getting a decent wired DSL account in the future. I can’t get one at the moment because the only wired DSL company with available slots where I live is — you guessed it — Globelines. XD

    Globe = Epic fail.

  5. There is some fresh stuff here in Philippines, Technology News & Reviews. Do you do any alternative subjects other than items similar to this? I would wish to find some material involving how instant it could materialize and what is the best manner to organize. Tell it as you understand it – that is the reliable approach.

  6. i have the plan 999 with PLDT myDSL which is supposed to be 1mbps… and I get speeds up to 1.3mbps, before even up to 2mbps.

    Most ISPs don’t exactly underdeliver (Some of them admittedly do), but various factors like attenuation can affect the speeds. The ISP’s fault there would be not adjusting the speed so as to overcome these external factors.

  7. I have this (windows 7):

    huawei e226 (7.2mbps listed on windows connection manager) = max 3mbps on smart 3g if not congested. not using anymore on mountains as i only have GSM signal = 2 – 5kbps :(

    huawei 153 (3mbps or 384kbps on windows connection) = good reception. and it identify itself as “mobile broadband connection”

    while huawei e1552 (3mbps steady listed on windows connection manager) = just to only get 5 – 65kbps.. btw i inserted e1552 on the same usb port with e153, and same 3G only, and same location. identify itself as “dialup connection”

    are the older models of tattoo “slow” despite the MBps capacity printed on the dongle?


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