In the last weeks lots has been said over the NTC’s proposed broadband cap, both positive and negative. The opinion of local tech pundits is split and sadly the influence these authors benefit, could wrongly divide public opinion.
I will be frank and upfront: the broadband cap is a positive development for the Philippines and has nothing to do with legal or human rights even. Actually it does.
Almost a year ago Yuga wrote about the actual DSL situation in the country, mainly NCR, and couldn’t have resumed it better: It’s all about capacity. In a still developing country, with huge differences in availability and speed – it is obvious that none of the unsatisfied pundits live in the province – it is important that the ISPs the option have to continue investing and improving the network, the general availability of broadband internet rather than participate to the high speed highway development with always faster speeds offered.
It is a human right to have access to as much information as possible, a right for every person on tis planet and it is important that the heavy users – a small group of usually less than 10% – recognise that their own internet usage might create bottlenecks in the general network. As such it is highly favourable for ISP to implement a broadband cap and even at what we heavy users might call a ridiculous level: 1 GB/day. As correctly expressed by Jayvee Fernandez, some users have higher needs and have the luxury of being able to buy games online and use a rather expensive laptop, combined with the occasional heavy download but to say that this limits our human rights is wrong and couldn’t be more misleading. The group which might be most affected by the broadband cap is only a very small group when looking at the general population. At the same time this group also represents the most vocal critics.
My colleague Ia went as far as referring to the open internet:
While a strong point could be made to the broadband cap restricting internet access, for heavy users, this is wrong as the access is available and as such information freedom and development of technology, science is guaranteed. Nor does the NTC’s draft restrict the ISPs to offer other packages, unmetered packages, at a premium.
Last but not least, let’s emphasise two words: draft and proposal. Until now only one ISP has metered its package, with a royal 100GB cap, largely sufficient even for internet professionals. Additionally it is also important to highlight the positives in the draft: a minimum availability of 80% of the speed the customer pays for has to be guaranteed by the ISP.
PLDT, did you hear that? At any time of the day I want at least 2.4MB download!
It is important that we, heavy users and probably a minority of less than 2% even, continue to support the nation – and its government – to develop access to the open internet and make the internet available for everyone at at least the slowest speed of 384kbps, rather than only looking at our own benefit and download speed. That is the open internet and that is a human right for everyone. Not just for us tech geeks.
If we want faster speeds and unmetered packages, let’s pay for and help ISPs making the internet open and more accessible. Let’s not make the error to compare mobile broadband or WiMAX, with DSL. In areas where DSL can be offered it is nothing more than correct to consider mobile broadband luxury. Mobile is the last connection anyone needs.
Photo Credit: Photo by Steve Rhode.