Continuing their thrust to expand the reach and capacity of their networks across the archipelago, the country’s largest integrated telco PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are enhancing their fixed and wireless services in the island province of Marinduque after the recent firing up of PLDT’s fiber optic link in the area.
PLDT’s broader effort to connect islands like Marinduque to the rest of the country via inter-island submarine and inland cable systems also enables Smart to better support LTE and provide faster mobile data speeds.
With this development, customers in Marinduque can now enjoy improved and more resilient data services which will provide for the connectivity requirements of businesses, schools and households in the new normal.
“With the new normal, we have been relying heavily on connectivity to communicate with our family, friends and loved ones,’ said Mario G. Tamayo, senior vice preident for Network Planning and Engineering and OIC – Technology of PLDT and Smart. “People need the internet to work from the safety of their homes. Students need it to attend online classes. Among businesses, it has also accelerated the adoption of e-commerce, and more companies are going digital. It has changed the way people use and consume content from the Internet as well.”
“To support the needs of this new norm, PLDT and Smart will continue to invest and continue to build out our network and ensure that it is reliable and always available,” said Tamayo, reiterating PLDT and Smart’s commitment to expand their network and support far-flung, unserved and underserved areas, despite the inherent challenges of rolling out across an archipelago. He cited Smart’s LTE base station in Pag-asa Island in the municipality of Kalayaan, the country’s most remote cell site, which was fired up in 2020, as proof of this commitment.
In addition to expanding the reach of PLDT’s domestic fiber and Smart’s LTE coverage to more areas, this network initiative also enhances resiliency of PLDT-Smart’s network through the addition of alternate fiber routes to ensure better customer experience in the event of calamities and multiple fiber breaks.
This also provides the networks in the area with 5G-ready infrastructure.
“The submarine cable project to this island province of Marinduque is a testament to the strong commitment of PLDT and Smart to bring connectivity to rest of the country with customer experience at par with the best in the region, especially during this time of pandemic where people most need the connectivity for online learning, working and conducting businesses from home,” said Arvin L. Siena, PLDT vice president and head of Technology Strategy and Transformation Office.”As we welcome 2021, the firing up of our submarine cable truly heralds a good year ahead for Marinduquenos, as they will start to experience faster Internet from hereon.”
As of November, PLDT’s fiber infrastructure spans over 422,000 kilometers nationwide. This also supports Smart’s mobile networks, which cover 96% of the Philippine population and are available in 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities.
These network initiatives form a large part of the PLDT Group’s investments in capital expenditures, which have totaled P260 billion from 2015 to 2019. With the surge in demand for data, PLDT-Smart is prepared to invest between P88 billion and P92 billion this year to meet the requirements of their mobile and fixed line customers.