Because it’s all worth it in the end
As I write this, I’m currently downloading a new game I bought off of Steam a few minutes ago (which will finish its download after 30 minutes, it’s a 12GB game), streaming music in Spotify while my brother plays an online game in the other room. It’s hard to imagine that just two months ago, I could only do one of those things, and most of the time the experience was hardly ideal – at least without upsetting the balance of the internet in my house. I’m proud to say that I’m enjoying PLDT’s Fibr connection and quite literally have better internet now than some of my friends in the US. And considering where I live, it’s almost a miracle since many people in my personal circle are yearning for a Fiber connection who are closer to the metropolis than I am.
That’s actually the reason why I’m writing this article. Since PLDT announced their updated Fibr plans November last year, many of my friends have been chomping at the bit to have super-fast internet installed in their homes but have been thwarted, quite cruelly, by the announcement that the service isn’t available yet in their area. It’s expected, almost – Fiber isn’t as common a technology as DSL (which can run from regular phone lines) and needs specialized lines and equipment, stuff that requires time to install. But I was buoyed by some reports of far-flung areas like Laguna, Fairview and other places getting Fibr, so I checked, almost religiously since it was first announced if Fibr was already being offered in our area through PLDT’s website.
Obviously, until very recently the site said that it was not available in my area, which isn’t surprising. I live out in San Mateo, Rizal, which is pretty far by Manila standards though I’m not in the middle of nowhere (I’m a spitting distance away from SM San Mateo, for Pete’s sake). But around four months ago my hopes were lifted when a PLDT Caravan went by and told me in person that there was already Fibr in our area. I was elated – finally, I could get the speed I wanted but my hopes were dashed when I called PLDT’s Call Center, which informed me that that person was mistaken, that there was no Fibr in my area yet. Bummer.
Two weeks later, I do my customary check in PLDT’s site and lo and behold, it comes back positive. I arrange a trip to the closest PLDT service center where I sign up for the Power Plus Plan 3500. Everything goes well (or so I thought), and I settle down and wait until they get around to installing my new, blazing fast internet.
Around a week goes by and my regular DSL line starts acting up. I called up PLDT’s customer support line to get it fixed, and thought to check up on my Fibr installation while I have them on the phone. Unfortunately, there’s a big problem – according to their records there’s no Fibr connection where I live at, and more importantly, no service requests have been received by their back office for my address. Apparently I’ve been waiting for nothing the past week.
Annoyed at having my time wasted and my hopes dashed once again, I consulted a family friend who also works as a PLDT subcontractor that handles installs in my area. Incredorously he says that there’s been Fibr provisioning for my area for around six months already and many of my neighbors were already enjoying brutally fast download speeds almost after the new plans were announced. Even worse, a quick look at my papers indicated to him that our application was incomplete, and was lacking a provisional phone number, account number and a whole host of other things that was needed for the request to go through.
Obviously I made a beeline back to the PLDT office where I applied for the Fibr connection, making sure that they do it right this time around. To their credit they were very apologetic about the whole affair, and after everything was straightened out, took around 3 days to install my brand spanking new Fibr connection.
So the moral of the story is this: PLDT has a few holes in their database about the status of Fibr readiness in many areas. It pays you to take a visit to the nearest PLDT office and ask them if your area already has a Fibr capabilities. Because honestly, life is so much better with 50Mbps speeds up and down, since you can really enjoy digital services like Steam, Netflix, iFlix, YouTube – you name it. While it does involve a lot of hassle and leg work to get it when it’s finally in your home or office you’ll wonder how you managed to live without it.