As I prepare to return to Olongapo in a few months (as the COVID-19 crisis allows), I know I’ll have to get a fiber internet connection turned on before I get there. When I left in 2018, fiber internet wasn’t available on my street. I used DSL for years and now it’s no longer an option. Fiber internet is less expensive anyway.
From the date I arrived in the Philippines in 2006 until after my house was built later in the year, I had to connect to a dial-up service. I had to buy a card that didn’t last long and I don’t remember how long it lasted. After the house was built, the local telephone company installed the phone line. After that, I subscribed to DSL using Subic Telecom at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone company (now PLDT) later acquired both companies but I don’t remember when. When I first subscribed to DSL, I only got a download speed of 512 Kbps. It was a huge step up from dial-up, which never reached 56 Kbps. They bumped me up to 756 Kbps a few months later, in 2007. When I left the Philippines in 2013, my download speed maxed out at 3 Mbps.
One of my sisters-in-law (Darlene) had PLDT turn my DSL service back on just before my wife, Josie, and I returned in December 2014. It stayed in Darlene’s name until Josie and I departed again in June 2018. When we left, I was getting 8 Mbps.
PLDT offered fiber internet in 2017, but not on the street my house was on. It wasn’t available on that street until after I left. That didn’t stop them from distributing flyers advertising it.
I checked the PLDT website a few days ago and noticed they no longer offer DSL. Looking at the options for fiber internet (which they call “HOME Fibr”), I only need the plan for 15 Mbps or more. It’s currently priced at 1699 pesos (around $33 USD). I paid 2700 pesos (around $54 USD) for DSL previously (which included a mandatory 700 peso phone line). I’ll be paying less for more.
The only catch is a contract for 36 months. I’ll be paying for service I can’t use when Josie and I are in the United States. Hopefully, Darlene will be able to get it turned on before I arrive. If not, I may have to wait a few days to get on the internet again.
I doubt I’ll subscribe to anything. If I want iflix (a Netflix-like service based in Malaysia) for free, I have to subscribe to more expensive plan. The last time I had it, it was free for a year. I never watched it. I subscribed to a Netflix trial and didn’t watch that either.
My younger son (who we’re currently staying with) has Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video. I watch old series and movies at night on Netflix while waiting for Josie to fall asleep (my snoring keeps her awake). I’ll probably watch things I have in storage in the Philippines (video files on a hard drive) when we return. I have a lot of old stuff I’ve never watched.
Well, maybe more. Brownouts are a thing in the Philippines. No electricity, no internet. I can keep my laptop computer going for a couple of hours on the battery, but most brownouts are no less than four hours. Perhaps I’ll order an uninterruptible power supply or two.
Typhoons (tropical cyclones) are a thing as well, and they happen every year. They take out power, cable TV and phone lines. I doubt the fiber optic cable lines will get spared. There’s nothing I can do to make the repair technicians fix them in a reasonable amount of time.