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Still Thinking About Internet in Davao

2012 March 18

Speedtest PLDT Still Thinking About Internet in Davao

I’ve been doing my research. Not that I don’t have anything better to do, but I need something to take my mind off the tasks at hand, at least once in awhile.

This internet in the Philippines is a complicated thing. Yes, things have gotten much better in the last five years or so, but it’s anywhere from clear as to who is the best service provider. Some will swear by the one they are using, while others will swear at them. One provider might be good in one area of the country or city, but far from it in another.

The good news is that speeds are increasing across the board. At least on paper they are, BUT the one thing that I see all of these providers ignoring, and many users, too, is the upload speed. They all seem to act like it doesn’t matter. Most providers do not even list the upload speed.

Take a look at this information from as one example why it does matter:

Skype (source: Skype Support)

For voice calls: 0.1 mbps download / 0.1 mbps upload
For video calls: 0.5 mbps download / 0.5 mbps upload
For HD video calls: 1.5 mbps download / 1.5 mbps upload

Important note: these connection speed requirements include downloading and uploading at the same time. Since tests download and upload separately for accuracy, your results will need to be higher than the the numbers provided above. For example, your upload speed may be 2 mbps in the result, but may go down to 1 mbps while your connection is downloading something.

Notice that it says you’ll need to be higher than those numbers if you want a good connection. Good luck doing a HD Video call from the Philippines. Even the best plans with 10 mbps download typically only have 1 mbps up.

If you do any kind of file sharing, sending of photos, ftp, online backups, etc. you’ll be making use of uploading quite a bit. I know that I do, but maybe I’m not typical. Cloud services, of which there is an increasing trend towards, also make use of uploading. Frankly, I think the price that is being charged for the services offered there are really quite high, particularly if you consider you are getting decent speed from the download side.

As I’ve indicated before I’m on what is considered a very standard cable internet service for my area. Comcast is my provider. They have several tiers above what I get, but I find the cost and speed, along with the service, adequate for my needs. Here’s a typical speedtest result for me (I’ll note that I have some type of Powerboost for the first 20MB or so of download, then it levels off at 12 Mbps):

1840155841 Still Thinking About Internet in Davao

I’m not posting my results in anyway expecting to get those kind of speeds in Davao or surrounding region, but as a reference from where I’m at currently, and what is common here. My upload speed is actually considered pretty slow by most standards now, and increases quite a bit in the higher tiers, but I’m not willing to pay the price for that luxury.

A while back Mindanao Bob posted a result of his Globe DSL connection on Twitter, of which I took great notice of as I am really considering them as a provider. Here is his result (hope it’s OK to reference this Bob icon smile Still Thinking About Internet in Davao :

1482166712 Still Thinking About Internet in Davao

This is actually a very good result for the region. Notice where it says faster than 94% of the Philippines? There are a few rare locations that have much better download speeds, up to 100 Mbps, e.g. certain areas of Manila, but for the most part this is really good result. Globe does offer two levels of service above this @ 5 Mbps, and 10 Mbps, but again, you’ll pay handsomely, and the upload speed will still only be about 1 Mbps, from what I understand.

I believe the next area of improvement from the ISPs in the Philippines needs to be in regards to the upload speed. Many here have long ago since stopped caring about the download speeds, as they are for the most part greater than needed anyway, and instead are chasing the better upload speed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still glad things have been moving in the right direction there, and I’ll certainly take what I can get. The lock in periods make my ISP choice a much more difficult decision than it should be though, but that’s another story….

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18 Responses leave one →
  1. March 18, 2012

    Ironic… I want to read your post, but my connection is slow I gave it up…

  2. March 18, 2012

    Adjustments :-) I have a feeling I won’t be spending near as much time on the internet when there.

  3. March 18, 2012

    LOL… You’ll spend as much time, you just won’t do as much…

  4. March 18, 2012

    A good thing that I’ll have more time. Was wondering what I was going to do with that. Now I know. Waiting is the national pastime there, so I might as well get used to it.

  5. Stefan Thiesen permalink
    March 23, 2012

    I actually think to spend a longer time in Samal with my family – as part of a family visit to Mindanao. It would be really good then to have a more or less workeable internet connection so I could workd form there, now and then. Anything with uploads above 0.2 Mb/s actually would do fine. Is that realistic? What about wirless – like 3G/HSPA+?

    Great website, by the way. Loads of useful information.

    Greetings from Europe
    Stefan Waterman

    • March 23, 2012

      Hi Stephan – there are options for wireless on Samal. Smart and Globe both offer various different ways to do that.

      I can not tell you which one works best, it may depend on where you are, but you should have no trouble finding something that will work for you. The speeds should be well above what you are looking for, at least in theory.

      • Stefan Thiesen permalink
        March 24, 2012

        Thanks Randy! That sounds positive enough. I actually happen to live only 10 Kilometers from the German Industrial Hub of the Ruhr Area, where you get any type of high speed option that is technologically available, but those ten kilometers are the difference between first and third world (when it comes to the internet). I only have two Mbit down and 250 kbit upload. Until three months ago I only had 380kbit down and 60 kbit up. So am not exactly spoiled when it comes to that. But I am spoiled in terms of costs: the flatrate costs next to nothing. We will see…

        • March 24, 2012

          I’m going to try to look into it a little bit on my next trip, if I can fit it in. I’m not usually there long enough to make it worthwhile buying a wireless solution.

          The good news is the choices there are consistently improving.

          • Stefan Thiesen permalink
            March 25, 2012

            For the possible trip (still in the decision phase – it is a major investment with three kids) I am looking at a house that already has a connection in place. Something rugged and affordable. The little lodge we have in mind does have a flatrate connection. But I keep thinking that Samal could develop into a location for something like IT service industry – software development, graphics and print services etc. Clean and profitable. Barbados is an example where that worked out successfully. A combination of clean sustainable tourism and offshore information processing on the one hand and renewable energies and sensible agriculture development on the other could do the trick (the Geographer in me is talking here). I am not sure if the proposed bridge would be such a great idea…

          • March 25, 2012

            There is quite an expense in bringing the whole family. My brother has two boys, and they need to make some trips without them. Of course they are doing it in reverse, flying here from the Philippines.

            An interesting idea regarding IT services for Samal. There have been many ideas thrown out for Samal – medical tourism, freeport, airport, etc. It does not seem that they really know where to go next. The residential subdivisions seem to have sold fairly well, but no one is living there. The infrastructure is still an issue, and the bridge is not happening any time soon.

  6. Stefan Thiesen permalink
    March 26, 2012

    Case studies help – looking at other successful remote island communities and trying to figure out their success strategies. Niches are one trick. I used to live in Hawaii (of course it has all the resources from the US to back it up – but anyway…): there are several successful niches, besides Tourism. The Big Island has Astronomy, cattle and coffee farms and the Hawaii Natural Energy Lab. Kauai has considerable film industry, Oahu has an enormous “higher education” industry, Molokai is world leading in maize breeding. The Cayman Islands have offshore finance industry (which I don’t endorse…and wouldn’t recommend), Malta is big in shipping industry, and Barbados is an iffshore IT center. There are many others. Think Bali. The big quesiton really is: what is development? In recent years I made the experience that a reduced lifestyle with fewer “things” is more fulfilling. Also means I need to work less. More time for the kids and the family. Most people in the Philippines dream the American dream, which might not be helpful for the Samal (or any other Island) development. I hope it won’t happen the usual way – freeport, tax breaks, sweatshops, with Chinese or Arabian money and hence political control.

    • March 26, 2012

      Seems there are lots of studies and intentions. Consensus and follow through are lacking maybe.

  7. March 31, 2012

    In comparison to other countries, the Philippines do lag behind.

    I don’t really know my internet stats, but as you know, I submit all my work online. Many of them large sizes through ftp sites. I have had no problem there.

    I also make my share of phone calls to my agent (New York) and family (California) using my Vonage phone (SF number) and my calls are good. You wouldn’t have guessed that I was calling half a world away.

    I don’t do video calls, but I may end up doing one soon because a 3rd class in Philadelphia recently requested to do a call with me (in regards to my work). I anticipate no problems.

    Lastly, since I don’t have cable tv (or a tv, for that matter), I watch NBA games regularly on an online subscription package. Sometimes there is a lag, but I still end up having good video most of the time.

    • March 31, 2012

      I’d be interested to know who you are using and what level (speed) of service. It sounds like you can’t be on one of the lower tiers, not with the things that you are doing and the fact that you are not experiencing problems.

      One of the BIG problems I see is that one person might get good service from one of the provider where they live, but another person living somewhere else does not. DSL is like that, even here.

      It does seem possible to get decent service there, but it seems very hit and miss. The lock in contracts make it difficult to be trying one company after another.

  8. April 2, 2012

    I use Globe broadband. It’s P1,000/month for 2MB speed. I agree that it can be a hit or miss situation with regards to location. I’m kinda lucky on that front. In my 3 years here, I’ve lived in 3 different residences and the service got better with every move.

    • April 2, 2012

      Thanks for updating me on that. Bob also has had good luck with Globe. Sounds as though if I am right in Davao, that I can probably expect that from them (maybe).

      I like the price and speed you are getting. I don’t see that offered, but do see a P1299 with landline.

      • April 7, 2012

        That’s probably the same deal, but I just signed on before the price upgrade.

        Mine has a landline too, but I’ve never used it (I don’t even know the number or have a phone hooked up). A simple cellphone & a California vonage number is all I need. Besides, just paying 1k for 2mb was what sealed the deal.

        • April 7, 2012

          That is a good deal. I’m not interested in the landline either, but that’s the way they are bundled.

          I’ll probably go a little more and get the 3MB, as it is going to be a difficult transition from where I’m at currently with the speed. I also would like the better upload speed that comes with the 3MB, though it isn’t much.

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