Most of us have had an episode or two online where we complained about our internet service provider (ISP). We tend to voice out our dissent in the digital space because it’s easy, people get to vent and connect with those who have the same issue, and in very rare occasions the problem gets noticed and solved. More often than not, however, our complaints, whether coursed directly to the companies involved or online, fall on deaf ears.
It’s a given that connectivity in the Philippines is far from satisfactory. The internet speed in our country is below the global average according to Speedtest Global Index, a service that tracks access speeds internationally. As of July 2020, our mobile internet speed is ranked 113th out of 138, while our fixed broadband internet is 109th out of 174 countries. This issue has become even more problematic today considering that everything we do now involves the internet. We rely heavily on the cyberspace because it is the safest place for us to conduct education, business, to shop, socialize, and basically do whatever it is we want and need in our daily lives.
On Sunday, Sep. 6, famous young actress Liza Soberano trended on Twitter for her gripe against Converge Inc.
Don’t get us wrong, the concern here isn’t about Converge per se, rather, the collective internet experience in the country. As emphasized earlier, many of us have grievances toward our respective ISPs.
We have varying experiences with our internet providers because there are several factors involved with their services like location, connection availability, number of users in the area, etc. For instance, for over a month now my ISP has been Globe Telecom and so far I’ve had no troubles with my connection. Then again, I would constantly see online ranting from a friend in Iloilo about Globe being slow.
Like Liza, I recently had a very unpleasant experience with another major telecom, which name I will not mention out of respect for the company. I live alone and before the pandemic I would only ever stay in my apartment to rest. Now that I have been working from home, I need to have internet connectivity, which was why I applied to said ISP.
A week after I sent in my application and there have been no confirmation or specific date on the installation. Two weeks in since I contacted them, and all they ever emailed me was that my application was being processed. I did not mind this at first since I could only imagine so many people being catered to at this point in time.
Internet connectivity is crucial to my work, so I became desperate and went to my editor who knew the president of said ISP to ask for help. I had to rush the application because I was spending way too much cash on mobile load for internet.
For the country to prevail and survive the economic recession and the global health crisis, ISPs need to shape up and improve their services because people need the internet now more than ever.
On the same day that I asked for help, the customer service called me and assured me that they were working on my application. Yet, a month had passed and still no progress with the installation. I was so intent to acquire connection from this ISP since I did prior research online and found that in my area theirs was the most decent service.
My patience ran out, so I applied to two other ISPs, which I should have done in the first place. Upon reassessment, I should’ve realized that my application was a lost cause. Bad service is bad service no matter how you look it. I had wasted over a month for nothing. Meanwhile, just three days from my new application and I had Globe internet installed. Again, I’m not promoting this provider but using this story to prove a point.
Majority of us are unhappy with the internet in the country, and we always have something to say about ISP a, b, or c. We have been complaining for so long about the slow and expensive internet, but nothing has been happening. Consumers could only hope for the best. For the country to prevail and survive the economic recession and the global health crisis, ISPs need to shape up and improve their services because people need the internet now more than ever.
Of course, let’s not forget that is also the responsibility of the government to find a solution to this internet problem. It is not wrong to ask this much from the government whose job is to make sure that the state functions well, especially in a crisis.
In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo on June, Sen. Grace Poe criticized the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for its incompetence in fixing poor internet connectivity in the country, being the government agency that has jurisdiction over broadcast and telco companies.
On Aug. 24, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill (HB) No. 7332, a measure renewing the franchise of the third telco player Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel), currently known as Dito Telecommunity. It only took three months for the new telecom to get its third reading approval.
It is true that the presence of a third telecom giant challenges the duopoly of Globe and Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), but given the general customer dissatisfaction, especially with schools now going online, there is more at stake and there is so much more to be done.