Philippine Broadband Normalization Index

Philippine Broadband Normalization Index

Or something along those lines… I couldn’t remember the exact phrase mentioned to me by Dr. William Torres (more commonly known in the local IT industry as the Father of Philippine Internet) during the last eCommerce Forum when we huddled in a group discussing suggestions on infrastructure that could help promote internet commerce in the country.

In essence, this broadband normalization index is being studied by the NTC to create a bandwidth standard in broadband connectivity offered by commercial telcos. That way, consumers are well educated what they are getting when signing up for DSL or 3G.

I only remember a few tidbits of our discussion on that but I think that effort by the NTC is a reaction to the growing number of complaints regarding the quality of broadband connectivity, especially in residential areas. This means when an ISP offers a 1.2 Mbps connection, the subscriber is informed that the 1.2 Mbps may drop to a certain speed (say 512Kbps) and still be within the acceptable threshold of the index.


If you will notice, ISPs offer two different packages — one for residential and another for business. Both packages offer the same bandwidth speeds actually, only difference is that with the business plan the ISPs offer a CIR. The CIR, or committed information rate, is the minimum guaranteed speed. That guarantee is non-existent on residential packages. That might be reasonable since the monthly subscription fee is only 1/3 of the equivalent business plan.

The normalization index, from what I understand from Dr. Torres, will see to it that the offer broadband speed are within acceptable (tolerable) limits. What these limits are or how this will be implemented, I don’t have any idea. However, in the US, I heard from a TWiT podcast that it should be around 60% of the listed plan.

This should be interesting once NTC comes out with this publicly. I agree with Dr. Torres that is a good move, though I reckon there will be some controversy and lobbying that will happen.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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8 Responses

  1. i hope this comes real. one of the main reason why I don’t subscribe to broadband yet is that, in our place, broadband connection is too slow. 178 kbps… the maximum i tested from an internet shop. and 182 kbps with my in-laws’ subscription.

  2. Since we do not have laws, common practice among ISPs locally and internationally puts it to 2/3 of the actual advertised/paid speed. That is already being implemented by PLDT, Globe DSL/Innove, Eastern Telecoms, Bayan, etc.

    The problem is, there is no ‘body’ that is keeping watch if these local ISPs are really giving that 2/3 minimum connection of actual paid bandwidth.

    Secondly, the consumers doesn’t have protection whatsoever.

    Third (or 2.5 if you will), ISPs also argue that it is “fine on their end, the problem is with your computer, you may have a virus, {put other reasons here}”. When in fact, the problem is really on their end – the question is which end of their? Their connection box, their overall system, their buried fiber optics cables?

    They do not want to check, and they don’t care as long as it appears fine on their computers.

    We need empowerment, not just the Normalization Index, we need laws that will govern the ISPs and empower the consumers to demand that 2/3.

  3. BrianB says:

    Maybe someone can make an objective study on these providers, make a video and post it on youtube.

  4. Anton says:

    they should also check those mobile internet plans that say that they have nationwide coverage and when you are in some remote place can only connect at speeds less than dial-up!

  5. Jovitt says:

    We definitely need better service in our country if we truly want to be competitive in the ICT industry.

    Work output is embarrasingly sound with a substandard connection.
    Filipino, as Filipinos speak it

  6. They better not give me the virus bull crap as I’m running Linux which is virtually invulnerable to viruses. Hahaha!

  7. jhay says:

    I suppose this is the time we netizens band together to push or lobby for laws that protect our consumer rights from ISPs.

  8. Dave Starr says:

    Certainly a step in the right direction. I have long been amazed by how my Filipino neighbors, many of whom are better educated than i and also more traveled will put up with the junk that Smart (the one I have the most expereince with) passes of as ‘service’. It is not the connection between my home and the provider’s hub … it’s mainly the entire connection between the Philippines and the rest of the world. The entire nation suffers from choked connectivity.

    The only way I can see that the huge BPO companies can be operating here is that the individual cosnsumers are being indirectly taxed … by paying for but receiving less than what they should be getting.

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