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Sunday, August 9, 2009

2M broadband subscribers by yearend

The number of broadband users in the country is expected to reach the two-million mark by the end of the year, Catanduanes Representative Joseph Santiago said in a statement Sunday.

As of June 30, 2009, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. reported 1.2 million in combined broadband subscribers, while rival Globe Telecom Inc. reported 379,309 broadband users, said the chairman of the House committee on information and communications technology.

Santiago thus urged broadband service providers "to truthfully declare the true speeds of their Internet access services" and to avoid misleading advertisements in their bid to seize market share.

He cautioned service providers against "exaggerating" the speeds of their broadband offerings.

"They should be able to deliver minimum Internet connectivity at par with, if not superior to their advertised speeds," said Santiago, also former chief of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

"It would be totally unfair, even highly deceptive, for them to aggressively promote their services by assuring this or that Internet access speed, only to fall short of their promise," Santiago said.

He said the NTC should see to it that consumers, including small businesses, are not being shortchanged by service providers, who should be able to guarantee a minimum Internet access speed all the time, regardless of the technology used.

Internet access speed is measured in data transfer rate, expressed in bits of data per second, or bps, from the web to a computer. Thus, Mbps stands for millions of bits per second or megabits per second.

At present, broadband service providers offer Internet access speeds of 1Mbps to 2Mbps (one million to two million bits per second) to individual subscribers, with others vowing faster speeds in return for more pricey monthly plans, particularly for corporate users or small shops.

As the name implies, broadband offers greater bandwidth (faster data transfer rate) over a telecommunications medium compared to a dial-up Internet connection.

In general, a high bandwidth Internet connection is one that is able to carry enough information to sustain the succession of images in a video presentation.

In other countries, Santiago said regulators have gone to the extent of establishing a minimum broadband standard, equal to a constant data transfer rate of at least 2Mbps. "So only those able to deliver the minimum access speed may call their service broadband," he pointed out.

Besides PLDT, Smart, and Globe, the other service providers actively enlisting broadband subscribers are Bayan Telecommunications Inc. and Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc.

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