PLDT deploys fiber links to major islands

PLDT Inc. recently deployed additional submarine cable links to connect major islands in Southern Luzon and Visayas for the first time, expanding its fiber service to Burias Island in Masbate, Lubang Island in Occidental Mindoro and Semirara Island in Antique.

The fiber connectivity will improve the telco’s existing 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in the islands and later, provide 5G.

It will also allow residents, businesses, and communities to enjoy fiber-to-the-home for fast Internet connectivity.

The deployment in Burias, in particular, marks the near completion of a major PLDT submarine cable program for previously unconnected areas.

In addition, the fiber links ensure PLDT and Smart Communications Inc.’s network resiliency in Southern Luzon, where typhoons, other natural calamities, and man-made accidents regularly cause destruction and service interruption.

“Fiber-powered connectivity is essential to the post-pandemic next normal,” stressed Mario G. Tamayo, Head of Technology and PLDT and Smart.

“With fiber available in these areas, we equip more Filipinos with improved connectivity they can use to work in hybrid workplaces, to study remotely, to engage in the digital marketplace, and to avail themselves of other services on the internet, such as online banking and online shopping,” he elaborated.

Deploying additional submarine cables is part of PLDT’s major project with technology partner NTT-WEM.

The goal is to improve connectivity in the Southern Luzon provinces of Sorsogon, Quezon, Albay and Occidental Mindoro, as well as some parts of Visayas, such as Samar and Aklan.

The project involved laying over 600 kilometers of submarine fiber optic cable and corresponding inland domestic fiber links.

Network-related initiatives made up the bulk of PLDT’s ₱89 billion spend for 2021. This brings total capex spent over the last 10 years to ₱518.5 billion. Capex guidance for 2022 is ₱85 billion.

This particular deployment expands PLDT’s 803,000 kilometers fiber infrastructure.

It also supports Smart’s mobile network, which has 76,600 total base stations nationwide, providing 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G to customers from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.

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