How the Google-Verizon deal affect us?
There’s been a lot of debate surrounding the recent deal between Google and Verizon regarding net neutrality. Some even say that Google has sold out just to get a the ball rolling. But what does this deal got to do with us here in the Philippines?
Well, nothing really. While net neutrality is a big hot topic in the US, we’re not even anywhere near that level here.
However, this discussion gives us a better picture of how or why the telcos operate the way they do especially in the wireless space.
We have several wireless internet services currently being offered in the country — HSDPA (by Globe, Smart, Sun) which can do around 7.2Mbps, Ev-Do (BayanTel) which probably can do 2.4Mbps and WiMax (Globe, Smart, Liberty/Wi-Tribe) which can do around 40Mbps.
These are very small pipes and with the growing number of wireless customers, we are prone to bump into the usual problems of a typically crowded network — slow speeds, dropped connections, intermittent signals (or in some cases, no signal at all).
This is the reason why we hear terms such as QoS (Quality of Service) which is a mechanism to prioritize resources to guarantee some level of performance. Say for example a user tethering his 3G phone to a laptop and downloading an episode of Fringe might experience a drop in download speed or being cut off from the connection after 2 hours. This is to ensure that others can join the network and use the resources.
You’d often have that experience that when your 10Mbps line in the office suddenly feels like it’s slowing down, you’d immediately say that someone in the office is downloading a ton of torrents.
That’s the reason why all service providers will put in a Fair Use Policy that somehow limits the seemingly “unlimited” service they are offering.
I remember the first time we dined out at Max during their Chicken-All-You-Can promo and complained that despite the “unlimited” offer, they only serve a quarter chicken one at a time. You can’t have an entire batch of fried chicken because others also have to have their share and the kitchen can only cook a limited amount at a time.
So, even if you can finish off a quarter slice of a whole chicken in 15 minutes, your next piece will arrive 30 minutes later as the next batch is not cooked yet.
There are other ways to go around it. For example, Globe compresses the images on webpages that goes thru their 3G networks so the sites you browse looked like all images are degraded. That’s another way to save on bandwidth. That way, if 5 people simultaneously downloads a 1MB photo of the cover of Sports Illustrated and uses up all the capacity, the compression allows for 50 people to download a 100KB compressed version at the same time.
Did you ever wonder why a 1Mbps residential DSL connection costs Php999 while the same 1Mbps costs Php3,000 to business users?
I think the problem is a sticky as solving the EDSA traffic. Do you expand the roads and add more lines? Do you enforce number coding? Do you go after the colorums?