So I’ve now been using PLDTHome Fibr for week. 50 Mbps plus VOIP “landline” plus 94 channels of Cignal IPTV. I am of course completely thrilled to finally have decent internet at home. This past Thursday, for the first time in months, I was able to do my night-time conference calls from home instead of staying in the office till after midnight. I think in terms of price, it’s not that far off from what my mother pays in New York for a similar package from Verizon (though she gets about 3 million cable channels).
The service is not without its quirks or annoyances. Dealing with PLDT customer service to try to get answers is an exercise in total frustration.
Or you can try going to the PLDTHome Support page. Does it tell you how to solve problems? No. It answers questions like “what is Fibr” and “what’s the difference between Fibr and DSL.”
The web site is pretty horrible in almost every aspect. If I click on VAS, which I am somehow supposed to know stands for Value Added Services, all it tells me is that I can subscribe to Cignal TV or get a web cam from them. The support page tells me I have the “option to avail of IDDSL” but nowhere on the website does it give any explanation of what IDDSL is or how to avail of it. The web site appears to be 100% geared towards signing up new customers. Even after logging into the web site under the “My account” link, there is virtually nothing worthwhile that one can do. It’s simply astonishing to me that the largest phone company in the Philippines in 2015 can have such a useless web site.
So I’m putting my experience here in the hope that some other PLDTHome Fibr user will stumble across this page and maybe even be able to answer a question or two for me – which basically comes down to this: if you’re a PLDTHome Fibr subscriber, are you just toughing it out with the equipment they’ve provided to you or have you done some upgrades on your own?
Oh I am hating this. It is a Fiber Home AN5506-04FG. The interface for this thing offers very limited options.
I can name my home network anything I like as long as the name starts with PLDTHOMEFIBR. Why? Why do I have to have the name of my ISP as part of the name of my home WiFi network? I have never heard of anything like this before.
I cannot change the login name or password for the router. I am stuck with the default. Granted, I have to be on the network in order to log into the router, but if Elliot Alderson from Mr. Robot comes into my house and I give him access to my WiFi, he will be able to pwn me within seconds.
I cannot set DNS at the router level. So I cannot use my Roku box to access Netflix since you need to set DNS or a proxy at the router level. (I can still watch Netflix on my PC but I’d like to be able to watch it on my TV. Yes, I know, first world problems.)
I can view a list of WiFi clients but cannot knock any of them off the network, nor can I place speed limits or quotas on them.
Most important – each time I reboot my PC or reboot the modem, it’s a frigging nightmare. It comes back on, the lights all light up, I get internet – for one minute. Then it loses the internet connection. I try everything I can think of (terminal window, various “ipconfig” commands), nothing has any effect, until 5 or 10 minutes later when it just decides “okay, I’ve had my fun, I’ll let him have internet again.
So my big question is: If I go out and buy my own Fiber to the Home (FTTH) modem/router, one that is theoretically more configurable and more reliable, will I still be able to get an internet signal, or is PLDT using some sort of configuration that requires this specific modem in order for me to connect.
Incidentally, I’ve got 50 Mbps, but on Thursday, when there were heavy rains, speed dropped down to well under 2 Mbps. According to the guy who installed the system, this should never happen.
I’ve sent individual questions to the PLDT customer service email address. Each question gets the same answer. “This is in response to your inquiry on DNS modification. Our sincere apologies for the delayed response. We forwarded your account to the department in charge for handling. Rest assured, necessary actions are being carried out to address the matter.”
Yes, I know I can use Skype or other similar programs for cheap international calls. But just for the hell of it, I thought I’d enquire about IDD packages from PLDT. They told me about their “Plan 50” that gives me 15 minutes of “free” calls (how could they be free if I’m spending 50 pesos) to 5 different minutes. What’s 15 minutes? That’s less than one call to my mother. So I asked if they have any plans with larger allowances. I asked that question 8 days ago. The response I’ve received so far? “We have received your email which pertains to your inquiry regarding IDD plan. In this connection, please be informed that we have already forwarded your concern to the assigned department for proper handling. Be assured that all your queries will be accommodated. Please keep your line of communication open for any update.”
I’ve also asked them to tell me how much per minute to call the USA if I don’t sign up for one of their plans. “We forwarded your account to the department in charge for handling. Rest assured, necessary actions are being carried out to address the matter.”
PLDT provides just one VOIP phone with the account. There are two phone jacks on the back of the modem. There is no way to add additional wireless handsets to this. PLDT will rent you a wired phone for P500 installation and P250 a month. Or you can get some poorly explained wireless deal with some sort of SIM card that means you can receive calls to your landline or place calls from your landline anywhere in the Philippines. It’s also P250 a month. And I don’t want to receive calls from my landline anywhere in the Philippines, I just want to receive them at home.
So I can buy a DECT system and then have two base units (the PLDT one and the one I buy) sitting in the same room, or shove the PLDT one into a box and into a closet.
No questions on this one.
Maybe I’m wrong to expect perfection on all of this or even any of this. But I’d at least like to know what my options are.
UPDATE: Posting this jinxed me. I woke up at 2 AM, couldn’t fall back to sleep, sat down at the computer, no internet. Rebooted the modem, rebooted the computer, “internet state down.” But curiously enough my VOIP phone was still working. Called PLDT hotline. Had to listen to a list of things to try when my DSL isn’t working. Had to listen to the entire thing before I could punch in a number to talk to a live person. On hold. “Your call is important to us, please hold.” One hour of listening to that same message every 10 seconds. If my call is so important to them, why am I on hold for an hour? Finally gave up. Sent an email to customer care (via phone, LTE), back to bed. Woke up this morning, internet is restored, no reply from customer care, not even an auto reply with a ticket number.