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 is firing hundreds of workers

From their research department in the US

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After everything, Huawei should be enjoying its recent influx of good news. Burdened by more than a year’s worth of uncertainty, Huawei was finally freed from America’s serpentine grasp. Recently, US President Donald Trump reversed a landmark ban that would have eventually killed Huawei’s business. Huawei is getting back on track.

However, instead of resting on its laurels, Huawei is still in panic mode. The Chinese company is gearing up for an extensive wave of layoffs in America. According to the Wall Street Journal, they will fire hundreds of employees from a pool of 850 workers. The pink slips will reportedly come from Huawei’s research and development division called Futurewei Technologies.


Additionally, Futurewei’s China-born employees can opt to relocate back to their home country, ensuring their continued employment with the company. Unfortunately, the company’s American employees won’t share the same privilege. Some employees already know about their impending fate. Meanwhile, Huawei is still planning more firings in the future.

Huawei’s recent layoffs stem from the continued pressure by the US government. If the country remains hostile, it’s best to relocate to a safer territory. Besides the loss of jobs, Futurewei’s relocation confirms Huawei’s renewed dedication to keep its future developments under wraps.

Despite the increased optimism, Huawei is still preparing for the worst. The company is building its resistance against geopolitical threats in the future. Unfortunately, we don’t know what this means for Huawei’s future outings yet.

SEE ALSO: Huawei will reportedly lay off hundreds of US workers

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Enterprise

Google is listening to your private conversations

They admit to the leak

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Have you ever worried about voice assistants listening in on your private conversations? Apparently, your paranoia was right. Straight from the horse’s mouth, Google has admitted to the unsolicited voyeurism of its consumers’ voice recordings.

Like most voice assistants, Google Assistant records and analyzes its owner’s voice for intelligible commands. Consequently, Google Home responds with the adequate function requested by the user.


Unfortunately, artificial intelligence is still an imperfect art, dependent on human intervention. Currently, Google employs a team of analysts to improve their speech recognition technology. These experts contribute to the voice assistant’s efficiency. Whenever a user says “Hey, Google,” the device sends the conversation to Google’s servers, allowing experts to listen in. Thankfully, Google’s team listens to only “around 0.2 percent of all audio snippets.” Further, these snippets shouldn’t contain any sensitive user information.

Sadly, humanity isn’t perfect. “We just learned that one of these reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data,” Google said in a statement. As a rule, Google’s experts can’t transcribe or transfer conversations. The Dutch leak is a clear violation of Google’s policies.

In response, Google’s security team is already on the case. The company has already found the leak. In addition, they are also reviewing their safeguard policies to prevent future mishaps from happening again.

Regardless, the company’s blunder is a huge dent on voice recognition technology. Previously, Amazon also committed the same mistake with its Alexa technology.

SEE ALSO: Google provides official preview of Pixel 4

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Enterprise

Huawei can still get banned again in the future

Ban’s lift only temporary, official says

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By now, the whole Huawei situation is more confusing than anything. Naturally, Trump’s initial announcement ushered in a wave of optimism across the industry. Huawei was finally free once again. The company’s reinstatement should have ended the entire saga. Unfortunately, things aren’t going as planned.

As reported earlier, the American government still held on to the Chinese company. Despite assenting to Trump’s announcement, US lawmakers kept Huawei on their blacklist. Huawei is still in political limbo.


Finally, the US has announced an official statement regarding the ban’s lifting. According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the government will issue trade licenses to approved companies who deal business with Huawei. The licenses will depend on whether a product is a threat to national security. Unfortunately, this isn’t a crystal-clear definition. Ultimately, government officials will subjectively judge products according to their own whims.

If anything, the relaxed ban will likely save Huawei’s consumer business. The company’s consumer devices aren’t the government’s focus right now. The government will likely issue consumer licenses much more liberally.

Unfortunately, the relaxed ban might mean nothing in the long run. According to economic adviser Larry Kudlow, the reversal is only “for a limited time period.” In other words, Huawei isn’t out of the woods yet. Should trade talks fall apart (or if Trump decides so), the government can ban the company once again.

Currently, Trump is negotiating trade policies with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The fate of the US-China trade war is still up in the air. Accordingly, Huawei is still clamped in American jaws as a bargaining chip. Huawei’s troubles just can’t seem to end. Will we ever see the end of the war against Huawei?

SEE ALSO: Our security shouldn’t only be Huawei’s price to pay

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