RT Cunningham


Is PLDT doing an Unannounced Upgrade to their DSL lines?

DSL filter My broadband Internet (which isn’t broadband according the FCC of the United States) is DSL subscribed at a humble 5 megabits per second.

The total cost per month, which includes a telephone line I never use, is about 2750 pesos (or around USD $58 at the foreign currency exchange rate). It’s expensive, but things were much worse when I arrived in the Philippines 10 years ago (minus a couple of months).

It may be even better now.

DSL Speed Increases

A few days ago, or perhaps several days ago, I logged into my modem to check things out and I noticed the downstream speed had increased to the kbps equivalent of about 8 megabits. A couple of days later, I checked again and I noticed it had increased to the kbps equivalent of about 12 megabits. Two days ago, I checked again and noticed it had increased to what it is now, 15583 kbps or a little over 15 megabits.

I download torrent files regularly, like the Ubuntu Server torrent file I downloaded earlier today. Before all these speed adjustments took place, I was lucky to see 5 megabits per second. Today, I saw 10 megabits. So, even though PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone) has bumped it up to 15 megabits, I’m not getting 15 megabits. That’s okay, because I’m only paying for 5 megabits.


PLDT changes URLs for their products at least once a year, so it usually takes me a few minutes to find the page where the DSL I have is sold. I found it yesterday and I noticed they hadn’t changed anything as far as prices go since December of 2014.

I told my wife, Josie, that I have a theory. PLDT is testing their DSL lines to see how much of an increase they can withstand. Now, when I was getting only 5 megabits per second, I never saw CRC errors. A few minutes ago, I saw 111 when I logged into the modem. Perhaps PLDT is replacing bad lines or weak lines with new lines of higher capacity. They never announce anything like this, so your guess about what’s going on is as good as mine.

The FCC of the United States

The FCC’s 2015 Broadband Progress Report used 25 Mbps (megabits, not megabytes) as their benchmark for broadband downstream and upload speeds (and a 3 Mbps upstream is still too slow for me). It means, indirectly, that they don’t consider anything less to be broadband.

Well, according to their definition, I’m not getting broadband. I don’t know what I’m getting. Maybe high-speed Internet is a valid description.

When I moved to the Philippines in April of 2006, I started with dial-up. Later in the year, I got DSL but was limited to 512 kilobits (half of a megabit). I’m moving into the fast lane but it’s taking years to get there. Perhaps I’ll catch up with Japan and Korea when I’m already too old to care about it.

(For those who want to say LTE is a lot faster, I can’t get LTE here unless I erect an antenna to go above the trees. There’s only one tower and it’s not at a near-line-of-sight site.)

Update February 19, 2016

As a commenter suggested, I applied for “fibr”. I haven’t received a call from PLDT yet about it. In the meantime, I checked the page that advertises the speeds and prices. According to that page, I’ve been automatically bumped up from 5 megabits to 8 megabits. My DSL WiFi modem, however, tells me I’m getting 15. I have yet to test the speed when no one else is leaching my WiFi.

Photo Attribution: By Lijorijo at Malayalam Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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By RT Cunningham
February 5, 2016