Enterprise

Philippine Internet turns 22 today, but it hasn’t aged a lot

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Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Philippines’ connection to the World Wide Web, which might set off waves of nostalgia for some of you who may be old enough to remember the infancy of Internet culture in the country. 

I can hardly remember when I first hooked up my computer using a prepaid dial-up service — Internet cards were all the rage back in the early 2000’s — but I’m certain my use of the Internet involved a lot of time spent listening to the now-iconic modem handshake tone and waiting, and then more waiting. Oh, how I wish I could get all those idle hours back. (Insert situational GIF here.)

But enough about me, let’s talk about how where the Philippines is right now in terms of Internet adoption. Spoiler alert: Things don’t look rosy if the latest State of the Internet Report by networking-services company Akamai Technologies is to be believed. In fact, judging by how local Internet service providers have performed the past quarter, you could argue that the Philippines hasn’t matured enough with time. Which is a bit like saying the rest of the world has moved on to HTML5, whereas we’re still collectively living in the Adobe Flash Player era. Or that we’re rooting for Michael Jordan and the 90’s Chicago Bulls to win the NBA championship in 2016.


Akamai State of the Internet Report Q4 2015

PH ranks second-worst in terms of average download speed in the Asia-Pacific region

The Philippines, based on Akamai’s Q4 2015 survey, has the second-worst average broadband connection speed in the Asia-Pacific region, barely besting only India (3.2Mbps vs. 2.8Mbps). The country’s peak download speed of 27Mbps also trails most of its Asian neighbors, with only China and India faring worse. On a slightly positive note, the numbers have improved drastically year-over-year, which might indicate better days are ahead. Or at least I’d like to think so, what with the proliferation of residential fiber-broadband access and increasing competition between service providers. And I don’t mean the kind of competition that’s led to Australian telecom giant Telstra waving the white flag on a joint venture with San Miguel Corporation, as unfortunate as the situation with the local telecom industry is.

Speed is the metric by which consumers judge ISPs — and this holds true even for the nation with the second-slowest Internet speed in all Asia. Thankfully, more and more broadband companies are learning that lesson, as shown by the recent surge in fiber-network rollouts since the previous year. Akamai estimates around 2 percent of broadband subscribers in the Philippines are able to connect to the Internet at speeds higher than 10Mbps, which represents a triple-digit growth (from a low base) compared to the same period a year ago. So what’s the takeaway from all of this? We’re not where we want to be, but the industry is moving somewhat in the right direction, if at a snail’s pace. Which means it could be some time before things get much better.
[irp posts=”7566" name=”Singapore, S. Korea dominate 4G LTE rankings, Philippines struggles”]
Source: Akamai
Image credit: The Taft Life

Enterprise

Huawei’s phones can’t use microSD cards anymore

Another casualty of the ban

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Everyone knows what happened to Huawei. As the week winds down, the Trump ban is dismantling the Chinese company piece by piece. Most notably, Google has stopped its business dealings with Huawei. Soon after, hardware company ARM ceased support for future Huawei chips. Huawei has lost considerable support on both hardware and software sides.

Now, the company has lost another major backer. Reported by Nikkei Asian Review, the SD Association has revoked Huawei’s membership status. As the name suggests, the trade group dictates the SD and microSD standards of the industry. The Chinese company cannot use the standard for future devices anymore. Fortunately, Huawei can still use the memory cards for existing phones.


However, the latest bridge-burning has drastically changed the company’s future. Given everything, Huawei’s future does not include Google, ARM, and microSD extensions, among others. All three components are major parts of today’s phones.

Fortunately, the loss of microSD support isn’t a deadly deal. Huawei can still use other standards for memory card extension. The company also has its own proprietary standard called the Nano Memory Card. Of course, proprietary hardware is almost always a turn-off. Despite cushioning the SD Association loss, the Nano Memory Card isn’t as appealing as the universally available microSD card.

In other news, Huawei has also “temporarily” lost access to the Wi-Fi Alliance. Much like the SD Association, the Wi-Fi Alliance dictates the connectivity standards of devices. Thankfully, Huawei can still use Wi-Fi in its devices. However, the company cannot participate in any discussions to shape Wi-Fi’s future.

Likewise, Huawei has voluntarily withdrawn from JEDEC, a trade group that defines semiconductor standards. As with the Wi-Fi Alliance, the company cannot contribute to any future discussions.

Fortunately, both restrictions don’t impact the company’s future as much. However, Huawei’s future is slowly moving away from industry standards. If the company hopes to survive, Huawei must develop its own proprietary hardware or find replacements elsewhere.

SEE ALSO: Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country

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Enterprise

Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country

States the Philippines’ robust cybersecurity measures

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Throughout the past few days, the Huawei debacle has devastated companies and consumers across the globe. Everyone is falling for the fear. Huawei’s long-standing suppliers have cut ties with the company. Huawei’s consumers are getting rid of their favored headsets. The wave has swept the whole world.

Naturally, the Philippines isn’t immune. Recently, smartphone retailers and resellers have started refusing Huawei devices from their stores. Local Huawei users can’t easily sell their devices to the second-hand market anymore.


However, an important question still stands. How much will the Huawei ban affect the Philippines?

Of course, the ban originates from Trump’s trade war against China. Among other reasons, the American government cites the company’s inherent cybersecurity risks as the prime motivator. Supposedly, Huawei’s telecommunications hardware can transmit valuable data to the Chinese government. Given the Philippines’ proximity to China, are we also at risk?

According to the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Huawei’s ban “will have a little impact in the Philippine telecommunications industry.” Shared through a Facebook post, the DICT assures users of the country’s robust cybersecurity measures. As of now, the department has not reported any cybersecurity breaches coming from Huawei equipment.

Likewise, shortly after the news broke, local telcos confirmed continued support for Huawei’s devices. According to the DICT, “they will diversify in their present and future procurements of equipment to make their networks more robust and future proof.” The department is also imposing strict rules on local telcos regarding network monitoring. The statement also quickly adds the imposition of the same rules on a potential third telco.

Is the DICT’s statement believable? For now, Huawei’s impact is still marginal at best. Companies and consumers are going on the perceived risk of the future. Right now, Huawei has not announced drastic changes to its products yet. Existing Huawei products still support Google.

Of course, cybersecurity is another issue. The risk will always exist when foreign companies control the telecommunications equipment of another country. At the very least, the DICT isn’t treating the whole debacle as a non-issue. Hopefully, the department’s promises are an optimistic sign for the country’s telecommunications industry.

SEE ALSO: Huawei granted 90-day extension before total ban

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Report: Huawei to lose support from ARM, hampering its own chipsets

Things are getting even worse

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Despite Huawei’s gradual loss of support from US-based companies such as Google, Intel, and Broadcom, the Chinese manufacturer has faith in its ability to produce its own replacements. However, with the latest development, even that strategy may be facing a potentially catastrophic obstacle.

BBC has reported that chipset designer ARM informed employees to halt all business with Huawei. ARM is a vital resource for most mobile devices, because even though some brands like Samsung and Huawei can produce their own system-on-chip (SoC), the technologies need to be licensed from ARM before production.


Since ARM is based in the UK, this added blacklisting wasn’t seen as a possibility at first. Unfortunately, the company appears to be complying with the US’ trade ban, the reason being that its designs hold “US origin technology.”

Huawei’s semiconductor firm HiSilicon creates the Kirin processors found in the majority of the company’s smartphones and tablets. Most, if not all, require the ARM license. According to the same report, the upcoming Kirin 985 is clear of the ban, but anything after that will most likely have its production halted.

While Google and Huawei were given an additional 90 days to sort these issues out, no such order was given to ARM just yet, saying that the closed communication takes effect immediately. Huawei hasn’t given a statement about this as of writing.

Huawei is said to have enough components and licensing to last several months to a year of production, but that would only be a short-term solution. What lies ahead for Huawei may only get worse as more bad news rolls in.

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