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“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.

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

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58 Responses

  1. hubes says:

    mas maganda yun up to 1mbps than up to 256kbps.

  2. iamkarz says:

    @abeolandres which one is better: skycable broadband or pldt mydsl?

  3. Jon says:

    Who’s your ISP Sir Abe? I remember back then when I was subscribed to PLDT’s MyDSL. I got the 1mbps package, and for a couple of months, I only get 700kbps. I complained several times, and they said something like that is normal since you get 70 percent of the bandwidth I am paying for.

    So I threatened them that I would have my subscription terminated, since they are not providing me the bandwidth I was paying for that time, soon they adjusted by bandwidth, and I was getting a consistent 1mbps connection.

  4. Darwin says:

    Fortunately, I’m getting about 95% of my 768 kbps/1.2 Mbps (SOD) subscribed speed from Bayan DSL. It’s been the case since ’05 that’s why I’m quite satisfied with their service. However, this is not the case with my Digitel ADSL back in the province. Most of the time, I’m getting about 128 kbps or just 25% of the advertised speed of 512 kbps.

    Regarding the 54 Mbps theoretical maximum of an 802.11g router, that 54 Mbps is actually the signaling rate and not the data throughput. The actual throughput is about less than half of that, or about 22 Mbps (in my experiments), because of protocol overhead and the fact that 802.11g is half-duplex (Tx OR Rx at a time, but never both at the same time).

  5. Num Lock says:

    This is like the 1.4mb floppy disk that you only get an actual 1.38mb storage. Same with my 1tb storage where I only get around 900mb.

    False advertising.

  6. LunaTech says:

    i definitely agree with sir abe… thumbs up sir!

  7. krheez8 says:

    @abeolandres I’m subscribed to a 1mbps connection but I don’t see any bogus there http://tinyurl.com/2d78w53

  8. lawrence says:

    why would isp change it to “up to a lower speed”? people always have the impression that the advertised specs is lower than the real life experience, so if they advertised it with lower value (ex: 384kbps inplace for 1mbps), iispin ng tao sobrang baba na ang makukuha nila.. I mean, obviously, it’s all about marketing.. “Misleading” has been the practice since commercial marketing started T_T

  9. phiLLip says:

    I’m currently subscribed to a 1Mbps connection but I don’t see any bogus there. It gives me exactly 1Mbps speed and occasionally it reaches up to 1.34Mbps..

  10. gringo says:

    my twicks po ba para tumaas ang bandwidth? or net speed?

  11. -m says:

    Same same

  12. phiLLip says:

    I’m currently subscribed to a 1Mbps connection but I don’t see any bogus there. It gives me exactly 1Mbps speed and occasionally it reaches up to 1.34Mbps..

  13. phiLLip says:

    I’m currently subscribed to a 1Mbps connection but I don’t see any bogus there. It gives me exactly 1Mbps speed and occasionally it reaches up to 1.34Mbps..

  14. pril says:

    i agree with the other posts. i am subscribed to pldt up to 2mbps. and i always get this. 1.54mbps http://www.speedtest.net/result/919969455.png
    that’s not 50% of what’s promised.

  15. JP says:

    I get more than what I pay for with Globelines Broadband. Its my conjecture that the bandwidth you’re getting depends on the location and the number of households the base station is feeding data to.

    I’m a megaupload premium user and I get around 250-300 kbps on a single file download. BTW, I’m subscribed to the 2mbps wired plan.

    I have an unusually high ping though. But that doesn’t matter. I don’t play online games anyway.

  16. arman says:

    @philip i also get faster speed around 3-7am 3:33am yung result mo..

    @sir abe since this issue is very true, do consumer have grounds or valid reason to terminate contract? base on DTI regulation..

  17. JP says:

    *It’s my conjecture

    Here’s a screenshot of my blisteringly fast DL speeds for multiple files.


  18. JP says:

    *250-300 KBps pala, haha

  19. Beni says:

    Burst speed for consumer broadband internet is true for all countries. Even in Japan, 1G FTTH connections don’t reach 1gbps all the time.

  20. marco says:

    im currently subscribed to 1mbps plan of globe wimax and my dwnld speed us only .5 mbps. Ung kapitbhay ko plan 512kbps but then unlike mine he has the 512kbps speed. These were tested using speedtest.net.

    Ung ang malaking complaint ko. Kung ganun din sana na pareho yung speed eh mas lugi na ako. Its some sort of contract defect kasi they ought to give 1mbps but only delivers half. I think the dti and ntc should take a look at this issue.

  21. Ronaldo F. San Pablo says:

    Same with Yuga. I only get 50% of what I am paying for. Currently subscribe at 2mb business package with Bayan.

    And the worst is, sometimes I only get 40% when there are having trouble on their part.

    This is the sad part.


  22. ralph says:


    heres my speedtest sir yuga. hope you like it

  23. Nino Carandang says:

    SmartBro is the guiltiest of all the “up to” speed promises. I’ve elevated my concern already with them to the extent that the bosses personally handle my account. Still, their service and moreover their customer service IS THE WORST in the industry.

    I’ve managed to twist their arm to give me one year free WiMAX for the 7 months of trouble that they have caused me. On top of that, I have SmartBro dongles that I can give away to anyone. It just annoys me that I have to elevate it to the senior bosses just to get it right.

  24. Java Coder says:

    Somehow I feel like the companies doing these should be sued… Is this not regulated by the government?

  25. rye says:

    It gets even worse at peak hours, you only get 50% of it during midnight until around 6am.

  26. GregOng says:


    Here’s my Sun Broadband speedtest. Crappy indeed.

  27. mark says:

    I have 1.5mbps for skybroadband. and Im always getting 1mbps in connection.. I’ts fair enough , and I think its because there are only two sky users in our street. used PLDT for 2 years. dispatched tech thrice.,always slow speed

  28. herbert says:

    Kung may Senate investigation tungkol sa nawawalang load ni Sen. Enrile, dapat meron ding inquiry tungkol sa mababang Internet speed!

  29. hihey says:

    I dont experience this issue with my ISP.

    I’m subscribed to 768kbps (download and upstream)

    and “most of the time”, my downloadspeed is around 650kbps – 768kbps (80-90+ kBps)

    even with Speed-on-demand time(10pm-10am) 1.2mbps download and 768kbps upstream the variance in the actual speed doesnt go more than 10%.

    I’ll repeat again, “most of the time”, cause there also times when i can’t watch youtube(even Low quality videos) continously.

  30. mr. bogus says:

    ITS ALL ABOUT PROFIT, what do you expect especially to a 3rd world country… alam naman nila na maraming users/customers ang mga servers ay konti mapa peak o off-peak hours man yan..
    parang cellphone load din yan na wala dapat expiration..

  31. Ton says:

    Travelling in EDSA can reach speeds “up to” 250kph……..on an Audi r8, at 3am, holy week. Tama naman diba. Deceptive, but not untrue. I agree though….under promise + over deliver = loyal customer. Fact is, to the uneducated tech consumer higher number = better. Kaya nga yung “mp6” player sa quiapo mas mahal sa “mp4” player eh.

  32. yahoo says:

    Great article about such a relevant issue. I don’t think the wifi analogy worked though. Broadband speed and wifi are two entirely different things affected by very different factors.

  33. Ton says:

    Oh and Globe almost always gives me my paid speed. It took them 2 weeks to fix when it died once, sure, but it works well when it does.

  34. juanrd83 says:

    mine is here..

    plan 999 sa globe broadband.. 1mbps.. old plan na wired.. di ung wimax! :)

  35. jade says:

    I use GLOBE Broadband and I get 1Mbps connection most of the time here in province.

    And I think what add-ups to that decrease in efficacy is the congestion of users in one transmitter of the ISP either wired or wireless.

  36. SBW Subscriber says:

    I use a Sun Broadband Wireless modem with a monthly subscription of Php 1399 per month. Speed, according to Sun, is up to 3Mbps. I get an average of 500Kbps only. To those who intend to subscribe to Sun, consider yourselves warned. Filed numerous complaints with them. Sun even conducted several site visits. Personnel who conducted the visits agree that my subscription is too slow and recommended an early termination without penalties. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

  37. jojo30 says:

    I am a very happy Globe Broadband subscriber.. 90% of the time I get the 2mbps speed (and more) that was promised. It’s way better than the skybroadband and destiny internet that I used to subscribe to. I just hope Globe doesn’t get cocky and SCREW it up! For now, kudos to them!

  38. manibela says:

    Wouldn’t this put customers in a worse scenario?

    quoting this line:

    So, how about “Plan 999 @ up to 256Kbps” instead of the current “Plan 999 @ up to 1Mbps”?

    At least now mas may karapatan na magreklamo ang customer na hindi man lang naabot ang certain percentage nung promised speeds (of course this is considering same yung price). Maybe the words ‘up to’ is the culprit here hehe.

    Ang dapat eh yung ginawa ng bayantel before with their true speed labeling. I don’t know kung ganun pa din sila. At least hindi pabugso-bugso ang damdamin ni customer haha (overwhelmed… underwhelmed…), sakto lang dun sa sinasabi nila (and if it goes beyond the promised speeds, then great).

  39. manibela says:

    Just to add, isa pang culprit pala ang ‘fine print’ (which applies to all ISPs, even bayantel with their true speed as I’ve read before). Sinu bang nagimbento nyang fine print na yan? Pati sa TV may fine print na nilalabas pero 2 seconds lang. Eh 15″ lang ang TV ko, may sa-tarsier ba ang taga-gawa ng contracts ng mga ISPs?

  40. Mike W. says:

    minsan its about the location and ung time. I have SmartBro 999 canopy, i usually use the net at 12:00am – 9:00 am kaya wala ako masyado kasabay, i can get speeds up to 1.5Mbps, pero minsan around .6Mbps lang din. Really depends…

    I’ve also tried Globe Tattoo Mobile Broadband, nilagay ko ung USB sa may kisame sa labas ng kwarto, I constantly got 1Mbps.

  41. geoby says:

    check this out… how in the world is this possible? http://www.netindex.com/download/4,9283/Olongapo/

    lilipat na lang ako ng olongapo to achieve “up to” 200MBps speeds. :)

  42. JP says:


    I think the 200mbps figure is just an aggregate of several speed tests. But hey, that’s just me.

    Anyway, I’ve been to Olongapo, and yeah — the speeds there are remarkable.

  43. simplynice93 says:

    These “bogus” deals is happening because the government is not implementing stricter rules to the telcos. Why are they afraid of implementing this? Or are they afraid that their “compensation” from these companies will wither?

  44. rommel says:

    hay naku try nyo mydestiny para kayong naka dialup!! grrrr…

  45. Mr Z says:

    Heyyy, one thing to consider when having issues with data rates – if you’re using an iPhone or similiar device at home on your wifi network, it will limit your data rates through the router, as it only supports up to wireless g. My MacBook Pro runs up to wireless n, but the router will always default to the speed that serves ALL attached devices. Yes, dual-band routers are available, offering multiple protocols for a variety of devices, but I’d rather upgrade my handheld selection to an iPhone 4 or iPad, with wireless n, before I upgrade that pesky router :D

  46. sherwin says:

    Name a telco/isp who doesn’t use the word “up to” on their residential offerings local and even international.

    Shared kasi ang residential packages, you share the resources on what’s not being used by the other customer, so spikes ang up to traffic lang and not a sustained xMbps. Dati may CIR na tinatawag, nagagalit din mga tao, bakit 8kbps o 32kbps lang per user na guaranteed. tsk tsk tsk.

  47. phiLLip says:

    @arman the result is in GMT. meaning it’s already almost noon here in the Philippines..
    here’s another test I did. time is 7:54AM GMT (3:54PM here in the Philippines)
    wow you’re right it’s already slower

  48. rguadz says:

    it used to be, providers give a CIR to their subscribers, ngayon puro “UP TO” speeds with no committed rate.

  49. I hate the word “UP TO” speeds because is a word for playing safe sa customers nila..
    kaya kung ang speed connection mo ay mag drop sa 1kbps kapag nag complain ka sa kanila sasabihin nila nakalagay sa subscription mo na “UP TO” this speed ang connection mo..
    so it means from 0kpbs up to 1Mbps ang pwede maging speed ng connection mo kung naka subscribe ka na 1Mbps, kaya ala kang magagawa kung ang speed mo ay mag drop ng 1Mbps to 1kbps

    I got this answer when I complain na super bagal ang connection ko and I saw my connection is just 40kbps ang sabi ng technician pasok pa din daw sa subscription ko yoong speed na yoon sa 712kbps.
    mas mabilis pa yoong connection ko na dialup na 56kbps using a US robotics or supra modem 10years ago

  50. Kenneth says:

    I definitely agree with your suggestion Yuga. But how can we tell those big companies our insights to whatever we have in mind? Those CSR’s are usually just their to help and not to mind people’s concerns like this one.

  51. SBW Subscriber says:

    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.

  52. Pete says:

    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.

  53. Bert says:

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

  54. daninjakitten says:

    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.

  55. boiler says:

    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.

  56. Mi says:

    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.

  57. neo says:

    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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