Globe Telecom urges rival network, PLDT, to connect 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.

“We welcome PLDT’s latest statement supporting IP peering. In so doing, PLDT should then connect to the government’s only internet exchange or at least establish direct peering with Globe Telecom. Nothing less would suffice to validate its claim of support for an effective and reliable IP peering among various ISPs in the country,” said Francisco “Cocoy” Claravall, Vice President for Consumer Broadband Products.

He pointed out that 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”, Claravall 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.

 “This is certainly good news to all of us. We should all work together to improve the Internet experience of all Filipinos”, Claravall said. He added, “However, it is important to distinguish IP transit vs. peering. IP transit is when an ISP (usually a Tier 2 ISP) uses another ISP (usually a Tier 1 ISP such as PLDT or Globe) to access the rest of the Internet via a transit arrangement and therefore the former uses the resources of the Tier 1 ISP to allow its uses to access the rest of the Internet. That is not our intent when we push for IP peering,” he said.

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.  Claravall 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. According to him, 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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