One of the largest internet service providers in the Philippines, PLDT, cave in to the pressure from competitor, Converge, when Converge announced that their home fiber subscription plans are being upgraded with higher bandwidth for the same monthly price (which is still one of the most expensive globally). PLDT was forced to do the same thing and match the same upgrades on their plans, or risk losing customers who are rapidly getting attracted to Converge’s aggressive fiber roll-out all over the archipelago.
I have been on PLDT Fibr ever since they started to deploy it for consumers. I am fortunate that my area gets these tech upgrades rather quickly. The current plan that I’m on is Plan 2699, which used to be good for 100Mbps, but was upgraded to 300Mbps (and I have been hearing that an additional 100–200Mbps upgrade is being offered until the end of December 2021, as a come on to get subscribers to upgrade).
Unfortunately, being one of the first subscribers had its downside, at least in this case. The modem/router (it is actually a router but PLDT CSRs refer to it as a modem) that I was issued was limited to 100Mbps only, which rendered the upgraded bandwidth inaccessible. A quick call to 171 confirmed that the account should have an upgraded bandwidth already. Double checking on the NetGate firewall that I have, the link is only good for 100Mbps, so a request was filed to replace the router.
Since this technical issue required a visit from one of their technical teams, I scheduled it two days after (yeah, my choice). The technical support person came in and just unhooked the fiber optic cable, the telephone cable and the ethernet cable connected to the NetGate firewall and transferred it to the new router. Was told to wait for an hour or so for activation. After around 30 minutes, the technical support person called and told us that it is already activated. Great!
It was great EXCEPT that the new router activation reverted my account to be put behind the CGNAT. Instead of getting a routable IP, I was getting a non-routable IP address in the 192.168.x.x subnet — which is really NOT acceptable. Not only that, PLDT is BLOCKING port 53, the port used by DNS queries, and forcing subscribers to use their DNS servers. I have my OWN DNS resolver in my network (Pi-Hole), but it doesn’t work with this setup. I forced all home network clients to use NextDNS and ControlD, and as expected, it was BLOCKED. I hate to speculate that PLDT Fibr users are being surveilled by the company, but why INTERCEPT DNS queries? Is PLDT collecting and analyzing DNS queries from subscribers for future targeting? Is PLDT sharing it with DICT and/or NBI, or maybe Facebook, Google or Huawei?
After 24 hours, a PLDT network engineer called and worked with me to remove my account off CGNAT. It took a couple of attempts on her end to get it to work, so now I’m off of the CGNAT. What is even better is that I finally have IPv6 activated on my home network as well — ain’t that cool? Kudos to the PLDT folks (you know who you are) who helped.