Contrary to the position taken by PLDT and Smart rejecting the proposal of the NTC to establish a domestic IP peering policy, Globe sided with the Regulator, and encouraged the immediate implementation of such policy for the benefit of consumers. Atty. Froilan M. Castelo, Head of Corporate and Legal Services at Globe admonished those that stand against the NTC circular saying, “With the internet now more pervasive than ever before, domestic IP peering can only serve to improve the quality of service delivery and lower costs for consumers. This should be top priority for any public service provider.”
Castelo explains, “In the internet space, there are times when customer experience is degraded due to longer IP peering routes elected by parties to be peered with. When data is routed outwards, say internationally first, before landing at its target destination, it wastes capacity and resources. More significantly, consumers unaware of the IP traffic routing taking place are needlessly burdened by sluggish response times and lower quality levels. When IP traffic needs to go from point A to point B – especially when both points are located within the Philippines – the transmission route taken ought to be the most direct, and certainly not international. This will immediately result in a faster, better internet access experience for consumers.”
Exacerbating the quality issues associated with international routing of domestic IP traffic, “the security and sensitivity of information exchange within country are needlessly put at risk when the data being transmitted is made to pass through international circuits,” Atty. Castelo warned.
IP peering is similar to interconnection among public telecommunications entities for voice and SMS except that it applies to the internet space. The subscribers and/or applications of one internet service provider (ISP) connect to the subscribers and/or applications of another ISP via IP peering.
The circuitous routing of data represents additional cost for the sending party, and ultimately, the consumer, because today, the peering partner can charge a fee for serving data transmission requirements – in an unfair sense, even for domestic peering with data pushed out of country. This said, domestic IP peering should ideally be free-of-charge following simple logic that consumer and service provider only want to ply and pay for a domestic route, not an international one. Castelo adds, “Consider as well that current industry policy prevents interconnection charges from being levied when landline calls are made within the same local calling area. This practice has generally rendered local landline calls “free” apart from the standard monthly fee for the service, but without interconnection charges to be borne by both service provider and consumer. In similar context, without peering costs for domestic data transmission, pressure to lower internet access rates can be rightfully applied.”