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Initiative to Assess Quality of Internet in the Philippines

NTC NetMesh Project
Photo Credit: Department of Science and Technology-Advance Science and Technology Institute

The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) recently held the launching and turnover of the NTC NetMesh Project.

About the Initiative

According to a recent press release, the NTC Fixed and Mobile Benchmarking System: Regions 1, 4, and 12 (NTC NetMesh) serves as a pilot implementation aimed to audit and assess the quality of service of local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the Philippines.

This will be achieved by conducting benchmarking activities between the advertised speed and the actual internet speed.

Outputs of the project are expected to provide inputs to NTC in order to boost its efforts in identifying and defining regulations that could further improve internet connectivity in the country.

A team from the University of the Philippines (UP), led by Dr Wilson Tan, is also a partner in the development of the software application of NetMesh.

The key guiding principle of the project is, “We cannot manage what we cannot measure.”

The project outcomes included producing a network measurement toolset, which will ensure that the Philippine internet subscribers get the best possible service that they can afford from the telecom providers, ISPs, and cable TV operators in the country.

Moreover, the NTC NetMesh Project aims to support Memorandum Circular (MC) 07-08-2015 of the NTC, which addresses the “Rules on the Measurement of Fixed Broadband/Internet Access Service”.

The goal is to monitor and measure network parameters of internet quality from the perspective of a customer.

The beneficiaries of the project are NTC Regional Office 1, 4, and 12, which also funded the one-year endeavour.

The tests used for the project are based on RFC 6349. RFC 6349 describes a practical methodology for measuring end-to-end TCP Throughput in a managed IP network.

The project wants to provide a better indication regarding user experience. In this framework, TCP and IP parameters are specified to optimise TCP Throughput.

Utilising ICT

As explained by one of the consultants from UP Diliman, RFC 6349 is the software going to be used by the NTC internally.

A laptop-based software, it will be used to measure the bandwidth. A mobile application, called “NetMesh Mobile”, will soon be available for download.

People can use the mobile app in order to estimate how fast their upload and download speeds are.

A NetMesh Web, meanwhile, stores the map of results such as bandwidth measurements and can be accessed here.

Project Timeline

The NTC NetMesh Project kicked off in February 2019 to enable the NTC to formulate regulations that will further improve internet connectivity in the country.

After which, training for NTC personnel at Regions1, 4, and 12 happened in October 2019.

By November, an introduction of the project to officials of NTC regional offices and representatives of telecommunication companies in the Philippines was made.

Other Internet Initiatives in the Philippines

Other offices in the Philippines have also made improvements to their internet connection.

The Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Office, as reported by OpenGov Asia, had signed a Contract of Agreement with a Philippine telecommunication and digital services company, which will pave the way for better and faster Internet connectivity for all LTO offices nationwide.

The enhanced internet connectivity for LTO offices in the Philippines reassures the Agency of a more reliable, cost-efficient, high availability, and almost zero downtime Internet connectivity in 229 of its offices nationwide.

Having a fast connection for both government offices as well as Filipino citizens entails easy and ubiquitous access to the internet.

As such, online safety for Filipino children requires an intentional strategy as well as contribution and cooperation from everyone. Thankfully, OpenGov Asia’s Recognition of Excellence 2019 awardee, Stairway Foundation has taken this vision to heart.

OpenGov had the recent opportunity to catch up with Mr. Ysrael C. Diloy, Senior Advocacy Officer, Stairway Foundation to see how the project has evolved.

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