Engaging An ISP:  Survival Tips for Philippine Businesses
James Mirasol Internet
March 06, 2013

Some of this will sound ridiculous to folks from the US but be warned, this is reality when it comes to Utility Service Providers like phone service and ISP's.  Mercifully, the power companies here have been taken out of this rogues gallery for the past few years now.

Read The Fine Print
Classic modus operandi. Over the past years, our businesses have subscribed to a number of phone and ISP providers.  While the sales rep will give you all the confidence-inspiring sunshine when you're vetting suppliers, the first red flags come up when you review the service contracts and note that they make no commitments to minimum service levels but they will promise "up to" x levels--aka accidental burst performance.  Then the contracts go on to say that they will have no accountability in case of service failure.  They say that fixes will be done on a "best effort" basis--in other words, there is no promise as to any timeline for restoration of interrupted service.  Even worse, they can dismiss you as a customer at any time for any reason but the customer needs to provide 30 days advance notice of termination and provide the service provider the opportunity to resolve any issues.  Terminate the service early and you'll need to pay whatever revenues are due to the end of the contract--no matter why you're terminating.  

Bait And Switch
Once engaged, you will be given 24 hours to say whether you're happy or not.  Of course, they will make sure whatever line they have your account assigned to is a purely demo line.  Your internet will be blazing fast.  Within the week, you'll have your first slowdown if not outright outtage.  It's usually downhill from here, so if you find a provider you can live with, never mind rave about, that's as good as it gets.  

Shop around
So we've been checking another high-profile, premium service.  A colleague's feedback is that there are no outtages for the 2 weeks that the service has been active.  Very encouraging until I ran a speed test--and found the internet speeds are on the level of 28kpbs dial-up connection.  So right now the choice is decent speed at about 50% uptime or 100% uptime but tons of waiting.  Frankly, I'd prefer the former to the latter but neither is winning situation.

Utility Service Providers in the Philippines
March 01, 2013
Some of the things you need to look out for when subscribing to utility services in the Philippines.

Service Providers
Service providers like cable TV, phone and internet service providers, surprisingly to this day lord it over the consumer.  Service contracts are best-effort basis and there is no accountability on the service provider's part for failing to deliver to the terms of your service agreement.  

For example, if your cable, phone or internet services goes down for half a month, you are still required to pay them for a full months' service.  What's even more amazing is that even with the advent of social media, these service providers still act with impunity.  This is because there is precious little competition in these services where entry barriers to newcomers are very hard to overcome and any relatively smal fish that make onto the competitive feild are very quickly consolidate into the mega-corporations that ultimately dominate.

Take ISP's.  Their service contracts will promise you "up to" X bandwidth which is of course a maximum burst and can only be delivered if their oversubscribed lines perchance have a moment when all users upstream of you have suddenly stopped streaming.  There is no ISP here that I know of that will offer a minimum service level agreement unless you're talking about leased lines which of course cost in the thousands of dollars.  Small and medium business operators here just have to learn to work around these limitations sometimes.