NTC -- kick some butt!

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Thursday, August 7, 2014


THERE was a piece in Sunday's paper telling how the city of San Fernando and the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce have taken to task the local internet providers for not providing; for promoting and advertising high-speed downloads which are, in reality, "the slowest in Asia."

The National Telecommunications Commission, the folks mandated to kick telecommunication butt, whined that they had no capability to monitor low internet speeds that this would require several million's worth of monitoring equipment. Have you ever heard such a pathetic excuse?

Someone tell the NTC to log onto the internet where they'll find free apps, which do exactly that -- monitor download speeds. I've used them to track SmartBro's snail's pace download (I refuse to use the word "speed") and, unlike up there in Pampanga, have never realized a dazzling 2 mbps -- more like 10-12 kbps is the best I can expect from one of Davao's supposedly premier internet providers.

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Our local NTC is similarly lethargic. A letter of complaint must be submitted == no walking in the door and just asking why. This absolves the NTC of any responsibility -- the beef is between the customer and the internet provider; certainly nothing to do with the agency tasked to monitor the telecommunication industry.

Perhaps a meeting will be arranged between the customer and a representative of the telecommunication company. He will thrown up his arms in horror. How can this be? We'll look into it. Certainly something will be done. The NTC settles back into its comfy chair and smiles benignly -- they've done their bit.

The rep slides off for a soothing cup of latte while committing the complaint to his spam folder. The customer has been dumped upon yet again by a combination of big business and in effective national agency. The customer may, of course, choose to fire off a letter or e-mail to the head office up there in manic Manila. I've been down that road which, Manila being a sort of communications black hole, is an utter waste of time. Nothing ever, ever, comes back.

(And, while tapping out these words, I've been trying to connect via SmartBro to BBC News. I started at 11.41 a.m., it's now 12.09. It took the best part of 15 minutes to download the BBC's home page and then, while clicking over to another BBC item, the signal downgraded to 2G, to local connection only and finally no signal at all as I was cut off. That's about the standard of internet connection we can expect and pay for from Davao's telecommunication companies. Time for the NTC to kick some butt? Don't hold your breath.)

Earlier on last month, reading about why building permits take so long to process, I was astonished to learn that there exists a body, the Traffic Impact Assessment group, which meets once a month to yea or nay building applications after reviewing their effect on highways and traffic flow.

Is there adequate off-highway public parking space? Off-highway loading/unloading zones for PUVs? Efficient entrance/exit layouts? Off/on sliproads? Etc, etc.

Astonished because it isn't apparent that such a body works. Take the Cabantian road. Huge subdivisions nuzzling up against the present two-lane highway. Entrance/exits always a chaos of private vehicles, PUVs and tricycles jostling for road space. Or the fine new mall at Lanang where the traffic impact boys have forgotten that a road has a this side and a that side.

The mall has spacious jeepney parking and slip roads but on the busy heading into town side there's nothing. Jeepneys act as jeepneys do; double parking, nose in with their arse out, refusing to move on.

This logjam piles up back to the Mamay Road junction which piles back...... often stretching to the J.P. Laurel/Castilio Y-junction. Traffic Impact Assessment group?

Raspberry.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 08, 2014.

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