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NetMesh Tracks Internet Speed in the Philippines

In response to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Memorandum Circular 07-08-2015, which talks about the Rules on the Measurement of Fixed Broadband/Internet Access Service, the Commission started working on writing the rules to measure and keep track of the quality of service that Internet Service Providers give to their customers.

In 2018, the NTC asked the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST – ASTI) for assistance to make their own tool and system for measuring internet speeds across the country. The Fixed and Mobile Benchmarking System Project, which NTC and ASTI started, became known as NetMesh.

Recently, the Philippines’ NetMesh Project team began their training and field testing in Region 8. Training on how to use the tools and applications made by the project team to measure fixed and mobile broadband -these are the NetMesh RFC 6349 software for fixed devices, the speed test app for the web, and the speed test app for Android.

After the training, the tools were put to the test in the field to see how well they worked.

“Unlike readily downloadable speed test applications, a locally developed software like NetMesh would integrate functionalities targeted to get internet performance and quality data at a specific time and place, down to the barangay level,” says Franz De Leon, DOST-ASTI Director.

The RFC 6349 tool is meant to be used by NTC employees in people’s homes. A laptop with the software installed will be connected to the internet cable in the home to check if the customer is getting the bandwidth they paid for. A visualisation tool is built to make it easy to map out all the data from the tests.

The mobile measurement applications measure the speed between a customer’s device and a test server, using the device’s internet connection. The initial results were promising and will be used to further refine the functionalities of the tools.

The information about the speed and quality of the Internet that will be gathered by these tools will help the NTC not only make good policies but also get the telcos and ISPs to bring the Internet to places where it is slow or not available.

The speed test tools for fixed and mobile devices that were made as part of NetMesh are meant to be used by NTC and all its Regional Offices to check the Quality of Service (QoS) of Internet Service Providers and make assessments. It will also be used to test the quality of the customer experience (QoE).

The tools and applications were made so that they can be improved and changed in the future. This project builds on what was done in the pilot phase of the NetMesh initiative. The first sites were NTC ROs 1, 4, and 12. This second phase of NetMesh is being led by NTC ROs 3, 8, 11, and CARAGA. For the other three (3) regions, training and field tests are set for the month of November.

Meanwhile, OpenGov Asia recently reported that through the Broadband ng Masa programme of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in the Philippines, three island villages far from Zamboanga City are linked to the Internet.

The DICT Region IX BASULTA recently went to Sacol, a remote island with four barangays, to see if the people there could be connected to the rest of the world. During the installation process, the Department found that two nearby islands, Tigtabon and Pangapuyan, also don’t have ICT infrastructure.

As part of a collaboration pillar, the DICT and a leader in IT and networking signed an agreement to work together to power the DICT’s e-Government Masterplan. The goal is to make a unified, interoperable, and integrated IT infrastructure for the government.

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