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January 31, 2018

BASS: A community watch for PH internet

BASS is a startup project with the intent of improving Philippine internet. Like Speedtest by Ookla and OpenSignal, BASS can measure internet speed to monitor if the telcos are delivering what was promised to users. However, BASS goes further.

Founder of BASS, Wilson Chua said: “BASS stands out from all the rest because we make the data openly available to anyone for free. No one needs to pay subscription or license fees. Our main advocacy is to make the bandwidth and cell site data freely available so that anyone can measure the Philippine internet.”

Both Speedtest and OpenSignal can measure download and upload speeds. OpenSignal has an internet map that displays internet speeds in different areas and allows users to make comparisons in other areas. This map can be accessed if users downloaded the app. The BASS app on the other hand, provides free access to their map through the BASS website and Facebook page, providing details about internet speed and signal strength of the area.

BASS will connect mobile devices to PREGINET—Philippines’ neutral server for government, academic, and development organizations. This connection will be the basis for BASS to measure internet speed and signal strength. Unlike Ookla and OpenSignal, which have servers inside the local telcos.

According to Chua, the tests using either one of these apps only show the internet speed between user and the telco. The rest of the internet is not linked to the actual tests.

Because of PREGINET’s neutrality as a server, allows BASS to take measurements to all networks independently.

BASS was designed by volunteers. It is a campaign to help improve internet speeds in the country. By providing an internet map and constantly updating it, Wilson Chua believes, will notify telcos about which areas are lacking signal strength and would encourage them to make the necessary adjustments.

Also, Speedtest contains ads and requires a small fee for their removal. On the other hand, BASS is 100% free and independent from any advertisers.

BASS is an app developed by volunteers and designed for volunteers who want to help improve the Philippine internet. It’s a movement spearheaded by Wilson Chua. BASS provides raw data for free, which can be used to conduct further studies about the internet in the country. BASS is also an open source application, allowing any developers to contribute into improving the BASS app.

BASS is more than an app that measures internet speed. It’s a long term project dedicated to improve internet in the country. In a way, BASS is the internet’s community watch, built by volunteers from various IT and marketing backgrounds.

Like any community watch, BASS needs volunteers to continue using the app while in different areas. The more people use the BASS app will help bring out a stronger voice in the community to monitor Philippine internet.

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