The Philippines’ leading integrated telco network, PLDT, and its wireless arm, Smart Communications are paving the way toward a more resilient Philippines by consistently enhancing their integrated fixed and wireless networks and promoting a culture of disaster resilience.
At the recent GSMA M360 APAC held in Seoul, PLDT and Smart Network head Eric Santiago showcased the Group’s initiatives to build a more resilient network to connect Filipinos and provide critical connectivity services, especially in a country that is prone to disasters.
Santiago highlighted PLDT and Smart’s efforts to continuously enhance their integrated fixed and wireless networks to boost the Philippines’ overall digitalization thrust, while ensuring that no Filipino is left behind amid technological progress.
“Resiliency is embedded in the design of our network. Smart’s mobile services are enabled by PLDT’s extensive fiber infrastructure, which has been recently expanded with additional submarine fiber links. These additional links do not just bring connectivity and additional capacity; they also provide alternative routes for data traffic in the event of fiber breaks,” Santiago said, adding that the Group has also fortified its existing aerial cables with underground inland cables, which is essential in ensuring network resiliency, particularly in typhoon-prone areas.
“Disaster-resilient network infrastructure is a must for a country like the Philippines, which experiences at least 20 typhoons a year, and where earthquakes are also common, owing to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire,” Santiago said.
Santiago also presented the Group’s programs under its #SafeAndSmart advocacy, underscoring PLDT and Smart’s responsibility and critical role in bolstering the country’s disaster resilience–from promoting a culture of disaster preparedness and leveraging technologies to keep Filipinos connected during calamities to extending humanitarian support to impacted communities in the aftermath of disasters.
Among the solutions showcased at the GSMA event were the PLDT-Smart Ligtas Kit, an all-in-one emergency communications package that seeks to ensure continuous communication, especially when emergencies and disasters strike; Smart Infocast, a web-based SMS text-broadcasting solution that enables residents to receive critical information before, during and after disasters from authorities in their areas; Project Hotline, which provides local government units with their own dedicated Smart-powered hotline kits which include a smartphone, a SIM card, and load allocation.
Smart is also the first Philippine telco company to adapt the use of the emergency cell broadcast system (ECBS), which currently supports the government in the issuance of early warning messages for local mobilization, as well as the first to offer satellite services, which allow government units, response agencies and other stakeholders to communicate and deploy aid to remote, off-grid, and disaster-hit communities.
“PLDT and Smart also provide free calling, charging, and wifi in disaster-stricken areas, when needed,” Santiago said, adding that the Group’s network front liners are also ready to be deployed for restoration efforts, like they had been when Super Typhoon Rai hit the country in December 2021.
PLDT and Smart’s initiatives to enable a #SafeAndSmart Philippines are aligned with the Group’s support for the Government’s overall digitalization thrust to narrow the digital divide as one of the founding members of the government-mandated Presidential Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) under the Digital Infrastructure Pillar, represented by its President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio.
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