PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. have ramped-up their nationwide network rollout, aided by a record number of permits secured in 2021.
Assisted by initiatives led by government agencies such as the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to streamline government permitting guidelines for telecommunications infrastructure, PLDT and Smart have secured more than 45,000 fixed and wireless permits as of Dec. 21.
“As the economy re-opens and our countrymen continue to recover from the pandemic, the demand for reliable internet connectivity only continues to accelerate. As such, we are one with our government in ensuring faster delivery of quality connectivity to more Filipinos nationwide,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT Inc and Smart Communications president and chief executive. “Government initiatives such as the streamlining of permitting guidelines for our cell sites and fiber lines are really helpful in expediting the expansion of our network across the country.”
These include the recently signed JMC No. 1, Series of 2021 simplifying the permitting process for cable laying, including the erection of poles, construction of underground fiber ducts, and installation of cables and facilities along national, local, and subdivision roads, including pavements and sidewalks.
PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the country’s most extensive, is at around 615,000 kilometers as of end-September. This fiber network also supports Smart’s 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G network, which serve 96 percent of the population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi. In addition to being the fastest mobile network in the country according to Ookla, Smart also operates the country’s widest 5G network with around 6,400 base stations deployed nationwide.
PLDT and Smart’s initiatives to upgrade their integrated fixed and wireless networks across the country are in support for the government’s call to elevate the quality of telco services in the Philippines and are aligned with the PLDT Group’s long-standing commitment to help the country attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. PLDT and Smart are on track to meeting the 2021 full-year capex guidance of at least ₱88 billion.