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The state of internet in the Philippines is deplorable. Not only is it very expensive, it's also very slow. One of the slowest in fact, according to this kinda old news. Add to that all the other issues, such as the general unreliability of ISPs, data caps, severely restricted and selectively "free" access to certain sites, our internet is really not worth its price tag. Hell, if I'm paying $18.19 per mbps of internet, I better damn get the best service there is.

But, no. The reality is harsh.

The ISP field right now has only two real players: PLDT and Globe Telecom. There used to be smaller players out there: Bayantel and SUN Cellular (Digitel). But SUN Cellular was acquired by PLDT and now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of PLDT while Bayantel was also recently taken over by Globe Telecom in a move that had PLDT hypocritically crying foul.

Bottom line: Internet consumers in the Philippines have only two choices, and what a choice. One is slower but more "reliable" (I say that with a huge caveat) and the other is faster but imposes data caps.

My family has been PLDT subscribers ever since the company started offering its services in Cebu. Our internet connection has always been PLDT. I liked PLDT because it was reliable. I don't need ultra fast connection speed. At 1.0 mbps speed, I can do internet research, keep up with social media and torrent the occasional movie, TV or anime series. Sometimes I did wish I had faster internet speed because I would want to be able to decently stream documentaries on YouTube. But PLDT had not given me any problems and I was satisfied with my service.

This all changed sometime 2014 and grew progressively worse.

To make things clear, my service with PLDT is a Call All Service Bundle, MYDSL Callers Package and Landline Plus SMS. I pay about Php1,650 a month for the whole service and I pay religiously. My internet has an average download speed of 1.5mbps. I have no idea what was my upload speed before. I did a speedtest just now and I got 0.043mbps but my internet is wonky. Anyway, I was happy with this service.

I started having problems with PLDT sometime in July 2014. Our landline lost its dial tone and we couldn't receive incoming calls or make outgoing calls. I called PLDT's Customer Hotline #171 and after about a week, the problem was fixed. I did not ask for a rebate at this time because I thought it was a one-time thing.

But the problem came back three months later. This time, although our phone had dial tone and would ring, we could not hear anything on the other end of the line. Again, this took one whole week before the problem was fixed. Still, I did not ask for rebate.

Meanwhile, I keep getting calls from PLDT sales asking me to upgrade my account to PLDT HomeDSL, offering a crappy Huawei tab as a freebie. I said I have an iPad and don't need a crappy tab. I also did not want to upgrade my speed because, as I said, I was satisfied with my service.

In April 2015, my landline had no dial tone again and my DSL was also cut off. I'm not usually aggravated when my landline gets cut off but when my internet is affected, I go ballistic. Two weeks of calls to #171 and email correspondence and my service was returned. This time, I asked for rebate. Subsequent bills showed no rebate.

In June 2015, I experienced service interruption again. It lasted two weeks again and again I asked for rebate. This time, the Customer Service Agent I spoke with told me that they could not process my request for rebate because the "fault ticket" they created was not yet closed even though the problem was already fixed. I had to email them again to request them to close the ticket and to give me my rebate. They replied with some nonsense about forwarding my request for verification and approval.

In August 2015, service interruption. Do you notice the pattern? This time, it lasted about 20 days. I reminded Customer Care through email about my pending rebate request and another rebate request for the recent problem. When another week passed and I did not receive anything from PLDT, I filed an online complaint with NTC. Yet, it still took PLDT nine days to approve my rebate requests.

In November 2015, no dial tone and no internet, and PLDT did something new with my emails. They have auto-reply now. This lasted more than two weeks. I don't recall asking for rebate, but the problem persisted throughout the Christmas season. What a hassle.

And the most recent problem is March 2016, which until now is not fixed. Our landline has had no dial tone for more than two weeks now and our internet comes and goes.

Judging from all my service interruptions above, no sane person would blame me for feeling very frustrated and depressed. The reliability of PLDT which was its selling point for me is gone.

In my desperation, I've signed up for Globe Home Broadband Plan 1299. I wanted the wired one because the data cap is higher at 50GB but their lines were full in my area, so I had no choice but to go for LTE at 30GB data limit. But Globe will first conduct a wireless test in my area to see if it's any good. If it's not, they won't approve my account application, leaving me in ISP limbo.



Maybe SKY Cable Internet?

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