Dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) is pushing for the direct interconnection among local Internet service providers (ISPs) through bilateral commercial agreements to further boost internet speeds in the country.
Ray Espinosa, head of Regulatory Affairs and Policies office of PLDT, said in a statement that the PLDT Group has taken the lead in developing such a network of domestic Internet Protocol (IP) peering arrangements to the benefit of Internet users in the country.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has blamed the lack of IP peering among local ISPs as a factor behind the slow Internet speeds in the Philippines.
Due to the lack of interconnection among local ISPs, the bulk of the Internet traffic between subscribers in the Philippines has to be routed to servers overseas wherein an e-mail form the Philippines has to be routed either in the US or Hong Kong before being delivered to the recipient in the country.
Espinosa said the PLDT Group through ePLDT established the Vitro Internet Exchange (VIX) way back in August of 2005 to become the principal proponent of the domestic IP peering in the Phillippines.
“VIX hosts many forms of content and all ISPs and telcos can connect to VIX and access these content. It is not a walled garden. That means, subscribers of different ISPs and telcos can access the information and services of the various content and service providers in the exchange,” he explained.
VIX now serves 33 local and international content providers and 12 ISPs and even Ayala-led Globe Telecoms Inc. and Lopez-led Bayan Telecommunications Holdings (Bayantel).
“As a result, the experience of Internet users accessing content and services hosted by VIX has improved. This includes the subscribers of other telcos like Globe and Bayantel,” he added.
He stressed that these peering arrangements have been set up through voluntary agreements between PLDT and the different content providers and ISPs.
“Peering through voluntary agreements is the generally accepted international practice. This is the most efficient and equitable approach because it allows the contracting parties to arrive at mutually acceptable arrangements that provide their customers better service,” Espinosa said.
PLDT had in the past opposed a draft memorandum circular of the National Telecommunications Commission in 2011 mandating all ISPs to connect with the IP exchange of the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI).
The company pointed out that the draft NTC order would enable some ISPs to “free ride” on other companies like PLDT and Smart Communications Inc. that have invested heavily in its Internet infrastructure.
It lamented that the process would become a disincentive for ISPs to further invest in upgrading and expanding their data networks.
Written by: Lawrence Agcaoili