Review: SkyBroadband vs. SmartBro internet

James Ryan Jonas

Last week marked the third month I subscribed to SkyBroadband internet. As promised in the earlier article SkyBroadband internet trial review, I will post an update describing how the first three months of SkyBroadband subscription went.

First, let it be known that I was not paid to make this post and I am merely describing an objective experience with the two internet service providers (ISP) I have subscribed to in the past. I do not work and have never worked for SkyCable/SkyBroadband or Smart Corp. and will not get any benefit, in whatever form, by making this post.

With that disclaimer, let me share my experiences with both SmartBro and SkyBroadband.

SmartBro experience

When I was living in Quezon City until a few months ago, I used to subscribe to the SmartBro wifi internet service and paid P999 a month for a 1MB package. I was a subscriber for close to three years. I don’t remember anymore how the first years of service were but I know my internet connection was suffering badly during my last months with them.

My internet connection frequently experienced service interruptions, usually happening at least once a month. Service interruptions means losing the internet connection for several hours. After experiencing these frequently, I have accepted it as normal and I ultimately learned to deal and live with it.

I remember one time when I did not have internet connection for one whole day. I simply thought Smart was doing maintenance work. But the next day, internet connection still did not return so I decided to inquire with Smart’s Customer Support.

That’s when they told me that they updated their software (something about the Canopy) which affected my connection. It was annoying that I was never informed about the software upgrade and that I even had to call to find out why I did not have internet connection. They did offer to send maintenance guys to replace the canopy and perform software upgrade, but their available schedule was in two or three days. The problem was eventually solved but I did not have any internet connection for almost one week.

Worse, during the last months of subscription with them, I seem to experience very slow internet connection usually averaging only 0.20 Mbps. Here’s a screenshot of results of my SmartBro connection in April and May 2012.

SpeedTest results: SmartBro internet


I thought then that this was the best I could get for P999 per month.

SkyBroadband experience

In June this year, I moved to The Fort in Taguig City and subscribed to SkyBroadband internet. My application experience and first week with them was described in the article SkyBroadband internet trial review.

Three months later, today, I can say I’m still satisfied with the service. In my three months with SkyBroadband, I have rarely encountered any service interruption. Of course, there were a few instances of internet disconnections, but they would only last for several minutes, never more than an hour. Actually I have never contacted Sky’s Customer Support yet because I never had any need to do that.

What about internet speed?

For my 1.5 Mbps package costing P999 per month, I can say I’m pretty satisfied with the connection. On average, I’m getting 3 or 4 times the average speed I got from SmartBro. Specifically in July — technically my first month of subscription after the trial period — internet speed was averaging more than 1Mbps.

Of course, not everything was smooth-sailing. As seen in the SpeedTest screencap below, I had dismal 0.10 Mbps and 0.17 Mbps connection on September 30. The good thing, though, was that this does not seem to be the average speed performance.

In fact, while writing this post, I checked SpeedTest again and my internet connection clocked at 1.36 Mbps. Not bad.

Here’s a screenshot of my SkyBroadband internet connection in July, September and October 2012. Compare that with the speed performance of SmartBro in the previous screencap.

SpeedTest results: SkyBroadband internet


Again, let me reiterate that this is not a paid post and I am neither for nor against either SkyBroadband or SmartBro. I’m just a regular internet user and all I want is consistent, fast, and reliable connection.

I understand that internet speed is affected by a lot of factors — location, modem/router quality, time of usage, etc. — but in the end, it’s all about overall satisfaction.

After three months of subscribing to SkyBroadband, I can say I’m a generally satisfied customer. Let’s see if they will live up to this expectation in the future. I’ll post another update to monitor SkyBroadband’s speed and performance in the coming months.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.