Details of PLDT’s IP Peering agreement with PHOpenIX
Earlier today, we witnessed the MOA signing between PLDT and DOST-ASTI that details the local IP Peering of PLDT with PHOpenIX. The same event also officially designated the PHOpenIX as the government’s official IP exchange (G/IPX).
Top brass of PLDT were there to sign along with DOST Sec. Montejo and Sen. Bam Aquino. It is worth to note that it was Sen. Aquino who’s been instrumental in getting both parties together and encouraging PLDT to join PHOpenIX.
We asked some specific questions about this agreement and here are the responses we got from both parties:
- PLDT has donated dark fiber to DOST which spans from ASTI in Diliman to the ePLDT Vitro Data Center in Pasig. This donation (fiber connection and rack space) is worth Php21 Million (Php21,745,920 to be exact) with a coverage of 2 years. Hopefully, after 2 years, PLDT will continue to provide this for free or the government will try to allocate budget for this as explained by Sen. Bam Aquino.
- While the physical connections are in place, PLDT has yet to implement the proper IP routing in order for the traffic to be re-routed locally. PLDT has promised this will be done in 30 to 45 days from today.
- PLDT is initially allocating 1Gbps for this connection but promised to provide more if ASTI deems more bandwidth is needed.
- The local peering is currently limited to websites and online services of government agencies. This means consumers’ access to sites like SSS online, BIR eFPS, and related agency sites will pass thru the exchange.
The underlying policy for this development is AO39 (Administrative Order No. 39) signed in June 12, 2013. AO39 mandates all government agencies to migrate to the Government Web Hosting Service (GWHS) of the DOST-ICTO. DOST has currently migrated around 80% of all government websites to the GWHS.
Section 5 of AO39 states:
Government IP Exchange and Data Peering. The DOST-ICTO shall establish a Government Internet Protocol (IP) Exchange (G/IPX) facility. All government agencies shall ensure that they exchange data traffic with other government agencies and external stakeholders through this G/IPX facility.
This provision requires that any gov’t agency that wants to access or connect to other government websites and e-services must be able to access them thru the G/IPX facility. If an ISP or internet provider is not part of the G/IPX, then that agency will need to subscribe to another ISP that is part of the local IP peering to comply with Section 5. This means PLDT will need to be part of that local IP peering in order to retain their various government contracts.
Likewise, the recent DOST-ICT Project on Free WiFi in Public Places also includes a requirement that bidders are only qualified if they are part of the G/IPX. The Commision on Audit (COA) is tasked to monitor and enforce Section 5 and will disallow budgets for contractors and suppliers if they are not part of G/IPX.
In a way, this is one of the many motivations why PLDT has finally decided to join the group.
7 September 2015
Bam on the MOA Signing between PLDT & ASTI as Operator of the PHOpenIX
7 September 2015, Department of Science and Technology, Quezon City
Speech during the MOA Signing
“Magandang umaga po sa ating lahat. Definitely, today is a big step towards achieving our goals of having improved Internet services in the Philippines.
Ngayon po, all of our government websites, at least majority of our government websites, are locally peered.
This means, now that PLDT is connected to the PHOpenIX, our government data, any g to g data doesn’t have to leave the Philippines and can actually just travel locally among our shores.
Can you imagine the issues on national security previous to this day and this partnership? Before, government data had to travel outside of the country and come back to our shores to be able to get back to other government websites.
Today definitely is a huge day and we would like to thank PLDT and DOST for finally working out this partnership. Definitely, we can all sleep more soundly tonight now that this partnership is done.
Malaking bagay po na ang huge player like PLDT is now connected to the PHOpenIX. It does open a lot of opportunities in the future. At the minimum, our government sites are safer and of course would be more efficient Of course, this partnership does open the doors for other partnerships down the line.
What I’ve been harping about IP peering in the Senate hearings regarding IP peering, I think, we’re one step closer to that with this MOA signing.
Hopefully there will be another great announcement before the end of the year when it comes to full IP peering in the Philippines.
Today is definitely a good step, a big step and along the way of trying to improve Internet services in the Philippines, this is one of those days that we will remember as a banner day to be able to get to the goals that we want for our country.
More and more, lumalabas talaga na ang competitiveness of our country, a large part of it, in the next five to 10 years, if not the next two to three years, will be dependent on how good our Internet infrastructure is.
We’re hoping that together, we can really build a much improved Internet infrastructure in the Philippines.
We have a long way to go definitely, but sabi nga nila, each journey begins with one step and this is definitely a good step in the right direction.”
Transcript of Interview after MOA signing
Q: How this agreement will benefit the public?
Sen. Bam: Ang public natin, accessing government websites, government to government transactions, mas bibilis dapat iyon kasi ngayong kasama na ang PLDT sa PHOpenIX, ibig sabihin niyan iyong data ng gobyerno, from the government side, or even from the public, hindi na kailangang umalis ng bansa, para makaabot sa mga government websites.
We’re hoping that this can help alleviate some of the concerns, iyong kabagalan, iyong latency, pagdating sa pag-access sa government websites. Again, hindi pa ito ang IP peering na ninanais natin but we’re one step closer now that a big player like PLDT is now part of the PHopenIX.
Q: For example, I’m a Filipino consumer, bibisitahin ko ang DOST website, mas mabilis na siya ngayon kumpara dati?
Sen. Bam: Dapat, once it is implemented. Noon, lalabas ka pa ng bansa. Your data goes out of the country, of course may security concerns din iyon, bago siya bumalik at makapasok sa government websites natin. Even government to government, previously, kailangan pa ring lumabas ng bansa.
This will help in terms of security, and should help in terms of quality of the service. We’re hoping this can be a good first step, simulan natin sa government websites but the goal really is lahat ng mga websites sa Pilipinas, nag-uusap-usap, nagkakaroon ng interconnectivity.
Wala pa tayo roon but the representatives of PLDT said they’ll need a few more weeks. Hopefully, within a month’s time, maayos na ang IP peering issues natin.
Q: Can you elaborate on security, di ba may mga incident ng hacking sa website? How would this prevent ang mga ganoong occurrence?
Sen. Bam: I think the first step is have the government websites host it sa PHopenIX kasi I think previous to a few years ago, kanya-kanyahan iyang web hosting.
So it’s important to have it web hosted by DOST and at the same time, iyong security measures nila, maaaring magamit ng government agencies na iyon.
Having if here plus connected na rin, hopefully gaganda na rin ang service ng public towards government website.
Q: May comment po ba kayo sa pagpasok ng Telstra sa market?
Sen. Bam: Hopefully it will help our market. Mas gaganda ang services natin, magkakaroon ng kumpetisyon, that’s important para sa kahit anong merkado.
We passed the Philippine Competition Act this year that really serves to increase competition in all of our industries. Pag mas maraming players kasi, mas maganda ang serbisyo at mas mababa ang presyo, that’s basic economics.
So with a third player coming in next year, hopefully naghahanda na rin ang current players ngayon. Kapag mas dumami ang players natin, hopefully it will provide better quality and lower cost to our consumers.
Q: Ang DICT, if posible po bang maisakatuparan ngayon?
Sen. Bam: I’m one of the ones supporting the DICT. Iyong IT sa ating bansa, nagdadala ng trabaho, nagdadala ng connectiveness sa ating mga kamag-anak, nagdadala ng tulong sa maliliit na negosyo.
Having that backbone and that infrastructure is important to our competitiveness kaya panahon nang may sariling ahensiya na nakatutok dito.
Ang focus niya, paano pababain ang presyo ng Internet, paano mas magiging connected ang mga kababayan natin.
Most of our connectedness is in the urban areas, pagdating mo sa rural areas, mahina ang signal, mabagal ang Internet kaya mahalagang magkaroon ng agency na focused talaga dito.
Sen. Bam Aquino (third from left) joins Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) company officials as they sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the IP peering that will provide faster access to government websites.
Under the MOA, the PLDT will provide the DOST, through the Advance Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), fiber optic connectivity to ASTI, becoming PHOpenIX’s third physical connection point.
Sen. Bam called the agreement as “a big step towards achieving our goals of having improved Internet services in the Philippines.” At the minimum, Sen. Bam said government sites are safer and would be more efficient.
Also in photo are DOST Sec. Mario Montejo, USEC Jose Napoleon Casambre and ICTO head Denis Villorente. The PLDT was represented by Ray Espinosa, Renato Castaneda, Jovy Hernandez and Eric Alberto.