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21 July, 2015


Philippine Flash Actionscripters
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV
Senate Committee on Trade,
Commerce and Entrepreneurship

Hon. Geronimo L. Sy
Assistant Secretary, Office for Competition
Department of Justice
Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila

Sen. Francis G. Escudero

Senate Committee on Finance
Subcommittee A

Hon. Gamaliel A. Cordoba


Hon. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba

Undersecretary of Consumer Protection Group
Hon. Virgilio P. Fulgencio
Executive Director, Competitiveness Bureau
Department of Trade and Industry
Trade and Industry Building
361 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City


Hon. Delilah F. Deles

Hon. Carlo Jose A. Martinez
Deputy Commissioners
Hon. Edgardo R. Cabarios
Director, Common Carrier and Authorization Division
National Telecommunications Commission
BIR Road, East Triangle, Diliman, Quezon City

Inputs on Proposed NTC Memorandum Circular on

Broadband Minimum Speeds and Performance Metrics

Table of Contents
I. Minimum Broadband Speeds
II. Fair Use Policy and Bandwidth Caps
III. Net Neutrality
IV. Official NTC Broadband Measurement Tool
A. Measurement Contact Points
B. Consumer Measuring Tool
C. Public Results
D. Ping or Latency as a Primary Metric Independent from Volume Transfer
E. Packet Loss as a Primary Metric Independent from Volume Transfer
V. Lock-in Periods

Dear Sirs and Madame,

With regard to the matter of the upcoming Memorandum Circular (MC) by the National
Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on the Broadband Minimum Speeds and Performance
Metrics, as well as the inputs from the Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators (PCTO),
we would like to submit our positions on various subjects discussed during the public hearings and
technical working group meetings, namely:
I. Minimum Broadband Speeds
That the NTC, DTI and DOJ set a Minimum Internet Speed for telcos and ISPs to be able to advertise
their service as Broadband. As per the suggestion of Atty. Roy Ibay of Smart Telecommunications at
the public hearing on broadband with Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV held last February 16, we are in
agreement that we adopt ITU (International Telecommunication Union) standards as suggested by
Atty. Ibay as follows:
Sen. Aquino: What part yung over-kill Attorney? Just to be clear lang, I mean what exactly is
the over-kill part?
Atty Ibay: Una po, yung standards po, the ITU actually prescribes only definition of a
broadband as 256Kbps (kilobits per second) sa definition po dito, nakikita naman po ninyo,
768Kbps na po sya. And so on and so forth in line with the definition.
Sen. Aquino: So what you are pointing out is the stated minimums already of the NTC that is
what you are pointing out as overkill?
Atty. Ibay: Opo. And yung sa rules and measurements and matrix. Pinadami pa po nila...?
But it is our position however that we should adopt the September 2003 ITU recommendation I.113 of
at least 1.5Mbps (1536Kbps) to 2Mbps (2048Kbps) or better as the minimum speed to be defined as
broadband instead of the outdated speed of 256Kbps mentioned by Atty. Ibay.
The ITU recommendation I.113 is as follows:
The Birth of Broadband
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is broadband?
A. Many people associate broadband with a particular speed of transmission or a certain set of
services, such as digital subscriber loop (DSL) or wireless local area networks (wLANs).
However, since broadband technologies are always changing, the definition of broadband
also continues to evolve. Today (2003), the term broadband typically describes recent
Internet connections that range from 5 times to 2000 times faster than earlier Internet dial-up
technologies. However, the term broadband does not refer to either a certain speed or a
specific service. Broadband combines connection capacity (bandwidth) and speed.
Recommendation I.113 of the ITU Standardization Sector defines broadband as a
transmission capacity that is faster than primary rate Integrated Services Digital
Network (ISDN) at 1.5 or 2.0 Megabits per second (Mbits).
Honorable Sirs and Madame should also note that the ITU itself states that the definition of
broadband also continues to evolve.
Case in point: last January, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States
of America redefined broadband speeds at 25Mbps or above, up from their previous definition of

The NTC, DOJ and DTI also need to recognize that the Internet landscape of 2015 is a far cry from
the Internet landscape of 2003. In 2003, the average webpage size was 100-300 KiloBytes (KB).
Today, webpages average about 1-3 MegaBytes (MB), which is an increase by a factor of 10. Surfing
websites today at 256Kbps (32 KB/s) is akin to surfing on dial-up in the 90s with slow loading pages,
content and images, hardly a broadband experience.
As such, we need to appropriately define broadband speeds in today's context. It is unfair of telcos
and ISPs to advertise products such as 4G wireless broadband or DSL broadband if they can only
deliver 2G speeds (256Kbps) and can hardly provide a broadband experience.
II. Fair Use Policy and Bandwidth Caps
Today, local ISPs are also implementing what they call Fair Use Policies, which are meant to curb
behavior by so-called abusive users. Their definition of this abuse for the most part pointed towards
the use of bittorrent file sharing technology to engage in copyright infringement and piracy of digital
media such as movies, software and music, with claims that 5 to 10 percent of abusive users
consume 80 percent of their networks' available bandwidth.
While it is acknowledged that there is bittorrenting that comprise questionable user activity, what our
groups find unacceptable is that normal, lawful usage of Internet services has now been re-classified
by telcos and ISPs as abusive simply because these consume bandwidth considered to be heavy
back in 2003, such as watching of Video on Demand. There is a large disconnect between the ISPs in
the Philippines with regard to its views of the Internet and the reality of the Internet today normal,
lawful, ordinary Internet content is now much heavier (by up to a factor of 10 and higher) when
compared to over a decade ago.
For example, in their Fair Use Policies (FUPs) which places bandwidth caps on users, Globe states:
Q: I'm a Prepaid user. What can I do with 800MB per day?
A: With this capacity, you can view 2,720 web pages ...view 272 minutes of streaming
video ...and download one 90-minute movie.
Q: What net activities can I do with a usage allowance of 1GB? Don't you think that bandwidth
is too low?
A: There are lots of online activities you can do with 1 GB! You can:
Browse up to 10,486 web pages (100 Kb web page)
1 movie (700 MB video file)
800MB (819200KB) / 2,720 is roughly equal to 300KB. As stated above, common web pages weigh an
average of 1MB to 3MB today.
The Honorable Lady and Gentlemen can have their staff check these for themselves by using the
Google Chrome web browser on desktop, opening up the Network Monitoring Tool as shown below by
pressing CTRL-SHIFT-J, and clicking on the Network tab, then pressing SHIFT-RELOAD upon
visiting a webpage to do a clean load to the browser cache. The total download size of a loaded
webpage will be viewable at the bottom of the Network panel.

The following is a list of sample common web pages (front page of website), both international and
local, along with their respective sample download sizes:
Facebook (logged in) - 2.7MB
Yahoo! - 1.3MB
CNN - 2.6MB
The New York Times - 2.8MB
Discovery Channel - - 3.3MB
National Geographic - 3.8MB
WIRED Magazine - 3.6MB

Philippine Daily Inquirer - 8.7MB

GMA News - 2.9MB
GMA 7 - 2.8MB
ABS-CBN News - 1.4MB
Philippine Star - 7.4MB
TV5 - - 5.1 MB
TV5 Interakson - - 3MB

Even the front web pages of the websites of the telcos, ISPs and affiliated brands themselves weigh
much larger than their outdated claims:

Smart Communications - 2.5MB

Globe Telecom - 3.0MB
Sun Cellular - 1.1MB
PLDT - 2.2MB
Sky Cable - 2.1MB
BayanTel - 4.6MB

With regards to Internet video such as streaming, Video on Demand (VoD) and downloads, normal
video clips from the streaming service YouTube can take as much as 12MB per minute. This is
contrary to the FUP stated above, as 272 minutes of streaming video can consume 2.7GB to
3.2GB in reality.
Video as of today is one of the most bandwidth-intensive applications on the Internet. As of November
of 2014, during peak hours, the American video streaming service Netflix ( was
already estimated to consume 50% of Internet bandwidth in the USA
The partnership and launching of different telcos and ISPs of their own eat all you can Video on
Demand offerings such as Sky Broadband's iWanTV! (, Globe Telecom's
HOOQ (, and PLDT's iFlix ( is an implicit statement by our
local ISPs that this level of heavy bandwidth consumption is not abusive use.
This tacit approval of heavy bandwidth usage by telcos and ISPs via their own VoD services is wanting
to have their cake and eat it too they are looking to double-charge consumers by encouraging heavy
bandwidth use and at the same time, putting stiff bandwidth caps and charges for purchasing
additional data should the already too low daily and monthly caps be breached.
In addition, there is the problem of telcos and ISPs throttling the speeds of prepaid and unlimited
Internet users once they have reached their bandwidth caps. This wouldn't be as big as a problem
except that they are throttling users to the low end of 2G at 256kbps, the equivalent of dial-up today.
When telcos are advertising claims of 4G and LTE speeds. If users pay the going rate of P5 for every
15 minutes of advertised 4G speeds, users should receive 15 minutes of broadband speeds, not
speeds at which they cannot access Internet services properly.
Aside from these daily and monthly caps, these ISPs have a policy of throttling the speeds of users
once their FUP bandwidth cap has been reached. The problem with this is that the throttled speed is
much too low, 256kbps.

For law-abiding citizens who do not engage in software piracy, this is a large problem because in our
currently fraught cyber-security landscape, original and legal software and operating systems such as
Windows, Mac OSX and Linux must often patch via the Internet in order to fix security vulnerabilities
that may leave users vulnerable to cyber-attacks, or to simply push out software updates and
improvements. Some purchased original software can also require gigabytes of downloads. These
legal, original software patches and downloads often are many gigabytes in size (sometimes up to
50GB) and the low bandwidth caps and throttled speeds by ISPs and telcos will prevent responsible
law-abiding citizens who pay for software from being able to do so. As pirated software typically is not
patched and are left vulnerable, these low bandwidth caps and fair use policies actually encourage
software piracy instead of lawful use.
For example, in Wi-Tribe's Fair Use Policy page, they say:
Q: What can I do to keep my usage on a normal level?
A: To help avoid this happening in future, here are some simple tips that would help manage
your usage.
5. Limit automated software updates.
Your PC/Laptop operating system and other software may have automatic updates turned on,
which means it is using your Internet connection even when you are not aware of it.
Ensure you turn off any automatic updates on software you are using, and only allow
updates that you need.
This policy by Wi-Tribe is completely unacceptable because it leaves users vulnerable to automated
malware attacks and hacking attempts by cyber-criminals. Such a fair use policy is an endangerment
of its own users and is tantamount to telling subscribers please drive with your seat belts off when
using our Internet.
Furthermore, today, students, teachers and ordinary users can enjoy free high quality online learning
from top educators and universities around the world through Video on Demand from groups like
Coursera ( and Khan Academy (, and many other tutorials
online. These free online courses often require HD video so that the text in the lessons are readable,
and such low bandwidth caps and throttled speeds prevent students and teachers from utilizing them
properly and make our growing Internet-enabled youth population from being more competitive
The other lawful and fair use activity of users that take up much bandwidth is the ordinary file backups
and file synching via cloud computing. It is not only businesses that use technology, but ordinary
citizens as well, and it has become crucial for convenience and to avoid data loss.
While bandwidth caps and capped throttling are not necessarily unreasonable, these low caps of 13GB and low throttled speeds of 256Kbps are also anti-lawful citizen, anti-education, anti-innovation
and as outlined in our previous examples, simply anti-normal consumer because such heavy
bandwidth use is no longer abuse it is the norm. What is worse is that these sub-standard services
are really expensive compared to abroad. As such, we implore the offices of the NTC, DOJ, DTI and
the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship of the Senate to look into these practices
of local ISPs and telcos.
III. Net Neutrality
Some of the groups have been receiving reports that local ISPs have been engaging in selective
throttling of traffic from certain online services such as YouTube. This was noted by users who use
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs a kind of Internet tunnelling software); with their VPN off and using
the default ISP connection, they could not stream videos from YouTube without buffering, and yet
when they turned their VPN on, they were able to stream YouTube videos at high definition (HD).
Given the fact that there are many Streaming and VoD services now entering the Philippines, it is
hoped that our local ISPs do not throttle the incoming packets from the other services and only give
businesses they invested in prioritized preferential treatment of traffic (putting them on Internet fast
lanes while putting competitors' data on slow lanes), because this violates the principle of Net
Neutrality and is a form of anti-trust and anti-competition.

This is a complex issue, but it's also important to note that the The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC), the United States equivalent of the NTC, has already passed very strong Net
Neutrality rules:
At the end of the day, we need to ensure that there is proper competition between our telcos and ISPs,
or else they will end up lax and we will all end up with poor Internet.

IV. Official NTC Measurement Tool

A. Measurement Contact Points
In the June 4 Technical Working Group meeting at NTC, the telcos stated that their position that only
known domestic points should be included by the NTC's measuring methodology. We are in opposition
to their stance because the ISPs can cheat and pre-optimize Internet fast lanes to these known
measurement points. It is our stance that metrics be a hybrid of both known measurement points and
blind, randomized measurement points to better simulate the ordinary citizens' Internet connections
that haven't been pre-optimized.
Whereas it is the stance of telcos and ISPs too that measurements be only done within their domestic
networks, we are in opposition to this because majority of content accessed by consumers are foreign
in nature. While there are many factors that are beyond an ISPs control once data packets leave their
network, they still have existing relationships with other local and international service providers and
can investigate or mediate on what is happening and then inform the consumer. This is what
consumers pay ISPs for, not just for content within their networks.
An analogy to this is a Cable TV provider. When there is an outage on their cable channels, they can
contact the appropriate distributor responsible for certain channels. They cannot just tell their
subscribers who are paying for the channels sorry, we don't know what's happening indefinitely. They
should get in touch with the other networks and investigate what is causing the outage so that they are
informed and that the problem can be resolved.
Within the Philippines, this is also within NTC's jurisdiction if it is between 2 local ISPs and strange
network activity is happening. If one ISPs' traffic to the other ISP is behaving strangely, NTC can
mediate and aid in the investigation in case there is throttling or unfair competition being done by the
other ISP. As such, we submit to the panel that again, measurements must be made with a mixture of
known and blind, as well as domestic and international contact points.
B. Consumer Measuring Tool
It is our hope that the NTC Official will be able to provide an official measuring tool for consumers to
be able to perform measurements, and can thus be used for more objective resolution of complaints
between telcos and consumers. Particulars have been discussed before in previous TWG meetings
and position papers, but what we would like to iterate is for the consumer-facing measurement tool
that can be downloaded and installed by users to be made open sourced, meaning that ordinary
consumers can look at its sourcecode and determine that the software is safe to use and free from
malware and spyware-like behavior.
It is important that the measurement tool be transparent and not be an enclosed blackbox because in
the wake of a post-Edward Snowden world, there are fears of government surveillance and
infringement of citizen privacy rights. The best way to alleviate this is to have whichever downloadable
software tool the NTC either builds or contracts out to have its sourcecode viewable by the public.
The other advantage of open sourcing this measurement tool is that the public itself can improve it and
save costs for the NTC and other government agencies involved. For example, if only a Microsoft
Windows tool could be afforded and was built by the NTC, partner agency or a subcontractor, private
citizen programmers can help out and build the tool for Apple Macintosh OSX and GNU+Linux even
for free if they would like to volunteer so, in order that Mac and Linux users can also do their own
The other part that we would like to propose is the creation of a parallel crowd-sourced metric listing
culled from the actual data from consumers instead of tests meant to simulate the consumer
experience, which is what most of the discussed proposals have been so far. Doing so will have many
advantages being that:

1. The data is actual and more real

2. The data is more accurate since there are more sampling points across multiple regions, days
of the week and times of day
3. Cost savings: The NTC is not limited to only the 3 approved pieces of equipment approved by
the Department of Budget and Management as stated in the June 4 TWG meeting.
Aside from these, consumers also need to be provided with an easy way to monitor their bandwidth
usage, should their plan involve data caps. It is the duty of telcos and ISPs to provide this tool. This
can be done by either through a web interface, e-mail, SMS, or a toll-free support hotline, and some
ISPs are already implementing some of these. Cost is not a valid reason for not implementing at least
one of these options because the technology is trivial and has been used by our local ISPs since the
days of dial-up and prepaid internet cards in the 1990s.
C. Public Results
Aside from these, contrary to the PCTO's June 24 assertion that the only the averaged metrics of all
ISPs measured by the NTC be made available to the public, it is the stand of our groups that
measurements of individual ISPs must be made public. Using only the averaged speeds of the
different ISPs as a consolidated metric has little effectiveness in pushing under-performing ISPs to
perform and presents a lack of transparency.
Publishing the individual measurement results for each ISP will ensure that each ISP will not be lax on
their duties to their customers and put their best foot forward when a light is shined on them.
Otherwise, lax ISPs will continue to under-perform as the buffer of other better-performing ISPs will
hide the fact that certain ISPs are delivering sub-par service. The NTC should either publish the
individual ISP metrics gathered each month on their website, or make them available to the public by
request so that they may be disseminated.
D. Latency or Ping Time as a Primary Metric Independent from Volume Transfer
Ping is the simplest diagnostic tool that is used for determining quality of service of a network and is
available on any major operating system. It checks if a packet (a piece of data being transferred through
the network) is able to arrive and how fast it will arrive to its destination (latency). During a ping operation,
data packets are given a maximum time to reach their destination and they it do not reach their intended
host, it results to a request timeout (RTO), also called dropped packets or packet loss. To perform Ping
tests, see Annex A.
It is the position of the groups that Latency (also known as Ping time) must be measured and be
factored independently from the agreed-upon bandwidth or volume transfer in calculations of service
reliability. This is because no matter how fast the volume transfer is, depending on the application
usage of the user, it may be useless to him or her if the nature of the activity he or she pays for is
reliant on low latency or ping, for example real-time applications.
For example, gamers who are the consumers who pay for the highest Internet plans do online gaming
as a primary activity and is why they pay for fast, expensive plans. If, however, latency is high (bad),
whatever rate at which the volume of data transfers, if the player has 500 milliseconds of lag, he or
she will be defeated, or worse, possibly cause their entire team to lose if it is a team game that he/she
is playing. This in fact has been a sticking point in the Philippine e-sports and online gaming industries
it has gotten so bad that Philippine players are flying abroad just to be competitive with international
players because the lag is so bad in the Philippines (high ping/latency).
Furthermore, in the Philippine game development, the problem of high latency compounded by the
lack of proper peering or Internet Exchange (IX) between ISPs that has been plaguing our industry is
more hard felt. While online gaming is a sunshine industry, with South Korea reaping hundreds of
millions of dollars from around the world (, the Philippines is missing out. As another
example, China pulled in over $2 billion in online gaming revenues in 2013
( Because of the bad
latency in the Philippines, especially with fellow Filipinos due to the lack of proper peering/IX by certain
local players (, Filipino game developers simply cannot compete in building online games and
are being left behind.
Aside from gaming, some important realtime applications are time-sensitive transactions, like online
bidding, stock markets, and even Philippine government services like with the Department of Foreign
Affairs (DFA) Passport Appointment System ( where every millisecond
counts. When trying to set an appointment at the DFA site, slots open and close I realtime, and those

milliseconds missed can mean the difference between a 1 week wait to get an appointment with the
DFA and a 1.5 month wait.
Other content sensitive to latency are Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and realtime video
communications applications, like Skype and Google Hangouts, which millions of Filipinos now use to
stay in touch with their loved ones both abroad and in the province. With poor latency, such
communications can become difficult to use due to the lag.
Other problems encountered when latency is bad is that webpages expire or time out, forcing the
user to reload the page and waste bandwidth, and worse, cause errors in online transactions with
double sends.
In many of these cases, it is not just the volume download rate that matters, but latency: how fast the
user's data packets travel to the server and back it determines how fast web pages load, also a
sticking point for us in the Philippine web design and development industry since it takes more work
for us to produce optimized content for Filipino consumers.
As such, it is our stand that Latency be a standalone metric against which reliability can be measured
because with the applications above, no matter what bandwidth subscription the customer has, if his
latency is terrible, he will not be able to use the Internet that he or she paid for in the way that he
E. Data Packet Loss as a Primary Metric Independent from Volume Transfer
Again, we reiterate our stand that packet loss be a required metric in the NTC's broadband reliability
measurements, contrary to the positions of the PCTO and PAPTELCO. Furthermore, it is our position
that it also be a standalone metric that is separate from the upstream and downstream volume data
rate that the PCTO is willing to measure. This is because again, depending on usage, if the
applications that the paying customer is using is reliant on no-to-minimal packet loss, volume transfer
rate and even latency may not matter because the user cannot use his applications.
For those who do not know what data packet loss is, in telco analogies, in texting, it is sending text
messages that never arrive to their destination. Or in physical delivery terms, it is sending packages to
someone and the packages never arrive. What then are we paying for when our applications rely upon
our data packets reaching their destinations and for client/server messages to get back in a timely
A big example of this is in online gaming. Imagine you are playing chess and your moves never reach
the person you are playing against. In terms of online communications such as chat, voice or video,
they will become choppy and communication will be a problem. Not only may messages not arrive on
time, they might never arrive at all.
This is a problem even with normal webpages in browsers the user can reload a page as many
times as he wants and some pages may never fully load if the user's Internet connection has high
packet loss. This is especially bad when online transactions are involved, as the transactions may
never happen, or worse the user may encounter bad errors and even possibly be double-charged.
Finally, very important to many Filipinos are VoIP and multimedia communications applications. Packet
loss can render these applications with choppy and garbled voice, video, or worst, being completely
unusable. With millions of Filipinos depending on these applications as their lifeline to their loved ones
abroad, it is the duty of Philippine telcos and ISPs to ensure that Filipino consumers get the proper
quality of service that their customers pay for meaning minimal packet loss.
Because of these, packet loss also needs to be a standard separate from volume data transfer rate
and latency. All three are like links in a chain. If a single link in a chain fails, the entire chain fails, that
is why each of the three needs to be measured on their own, and if one of them is considered to be
unreliable, then the entire Internet connection of the user should be considered unreliable and
qualified for bill rebates on the days in which the customer reports sub-standard performance.

V. Lock-In Periods
In previous technical working group meetings, representatives from PCTO have repeatedly expressed
that customers can always leave them if they under-perform, and that it will be the greatest
punishment that a telco or ISP can receive as its bottom line will be hurt.
On the contrary, this is not so because most of the time, consumers are forced into 1 to 3-year lock-in
contracts whenever they sign up with an ISP, so even if they wanted to leave, they cannot because of
expensive early termination fees (ETFs) they must pay if they leave an ISP early.
Our proposal is that an ISP be given three strikes on reported under-performance via a user using the
NTC's official measuring tool, and after three disputes that are not resolved properly, they be freed
from any obligation to pay early termination fees so that they can realistically transfer to a different
If the customer is not getting what he is paying for, for the purpose he or she intended, then he or she
must be allowed to leave an abusive relationship by misbehaving ISPs under consumer protection

Annex A.
Ping and Packet Loss Testing
Ping tests can be performed on all three major operating systems as follows:

On Microsoft Windows, go to Start Run then type Command to bring up the terminal.
Type ping -t to start the Ping test. Press CTRL-C to stop it.
On Apple Mac OSX, press CMD-Space to reveal the program search bar, then type Terminal
to bring it up. Click on Terminal in the search results to start it, then type ping -i 1 to start the Ping test. Press CTRL-C to stop.
On Linux, open the Terminal then type ping -i 1 Press CTRL-C to stop.

Packet Loss can be measured via Request timed out (RTO) messages during Ping tests, where
each RTO is a lost or dropped data packet.

For your consideration,

Original signed

Original signed

Sophia Lucero
Philippine Web Designers Organization

Mae Lynn Paulino
Philippine Web Designers Organization

Orginal signed
Alvin Juban

Original signed
Marnielle Lloyd Estrada

Game Developers Association of the Philippines

Philippine Game Developers Community

Original signed

Original signed

John Imbong
Adobe User Group Manager
Philippine Flash ActionScripters

Carlos Nazareno
Philippine Flash ActionScripters

Original signed
Nica Dumlao
Steering Committee
Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance

Original signed
Atty. Marnie Tonson
Steering Committee
Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance