Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Globe: PLDT Must Connect to PHOpenIX For Faster Internet In the Phils

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Filipinos are no doubt active netizens'. We utilize almost all social media platforms there is, day in and day out and use the internet in our daily activities so much as if it is a basic need. We are not the selfie capital of the world for nothing, but that is beside the point. Despite the Philippine's active presence on the world wide web, it is sad to know that we are at the bottom of list in terms of internet speed among our Southeast Asian neighbors. However, as talks about this concern in the senate have been initiated by Sen. Bam Aquino, we might just have the good news at the end of the tunnel.  

Recently, Globe Telecom asks PLDT to make good its claim of supporting IP peering by connecting to Philippine Open Internet Exchange (PHOpenIX), the only internet exchange facility operated by a neutral organization, in this case, the government.

An internet exchange, such as the PHOpenIX, which is operated by the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, allows the exchanges of Internet traffic among internet and data service providers.

Globe Telecom currently has a 10Gbps port with Vitro Internet Exchange (VIX), which is hosted by PLDT. However, Globe does not have any Internet traffic to any PLDT subscribers through VIX but only with other ISPs. “We are open anytime to peer with PLDT, as this will enhance both our customers’ web experience", a Globe representative said.

Following 3 years of opposing the National Telecommunication’s proposed mandatory IP peering policy, PLDT recently said it now supports regulator initiatives to implement IP peering, but emphasized such arrangements must be voluntary, in line with generally accepted international practice.

Under an IP peering arrangement, the internet traffic is freely exchanged between the Tier 1 ISP and each ISP provides the other partner with access to its own customers and vice versa but not to the entire Internet.

Contrary to PLDT’s opposition to IP peering in the past, Globe Telecom strongly supports the NTC’s position that a mandatory IP peering among carriers should be put in place to improve internet services in the country.  It is emphasized that an effective and reliable IP peering policy would greatly improve internet speeds in the country as it would give local ISPs like Globe a direct route to access local content for faster data interchange. Facts show that around 15% to 30% of all internet traffic in the Philippines is domestic.  This means that domestic traffic originates in the Philippines and terminates in the Philippines. The origin and destination may be as far away as across the country or as close as across the street from each other.

However, instead of remaining local, traffic is being routed externally, such as in Hong Kong and the U.S., before returning to the Philippines. This means that instead of getting routed directly between origin and destination, data is routed outwards through large ISPs that sell transit before the data is routed back to its target destination, thus causing delay in data transmission and effectively slowing internet connectivity. Thus, a direct route among local ISPs through a mandatory IP peering would greatly improve throughput and latency performance of ISPs, enhance bandwidth utilization and provide faster internet speeds.

At a recent joint hearing of the Senate committees on trade and public services, the NTC cited the lack of IP peering among local ISPs as one of factors that contribute to slower internet speeds in the country. The regulatory body pointed out that in the case of Singapore and South Korea, for instance, internet content are mostly generated internally, as a result of an effective IP peering policy, which in turn enhances internet speed.        

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