Following the activation of PLDT’s fiber optic cables linking the islands—the first telco to connect the province through fiber—customers of PLDT and its wireless affiliate Smart Communications, Inc (Smart) across all three islands of Romblon province may now enjoy an upgraded data experience.
Romblon’s three main islands, Romblon, Sibuyan, and Tablas, as well as Carabao Island (300 kilometers south of Manila), are now connected to the rest of the nation and the globe thanks to PLDT’s undersea fiber cables. Residents in Romblon will soon be able to enjoy internet speeds comparable to those seen in metropolitan areas, thanks to the addition of fiber cable.
“As we help the nation bounce back from the impact of the pandemic, it is important to connect provinces like Romblon, which is made up of separate islands, and enable their citizens’ livelihoods, education, day-to-day transactions, and entertainment in the New Normal,” said Mario G. Tamayo, Head of Technology at PLDT and Smart, adding that the improved telco infrastructure in the province can help further boost economic activity in Tablas and Romblon’s marble industry.
“Our initiatives in Romblon and other island provinces in the country are part of our ongoing endeavors to ensure that we connect Filipinos wherever they might be,” Tamayo said.
Smart LTE and 5G in Romblon
Smart has recently launched its first 5G sites in the municipalities of Odiongan and Ferrol, after successfully installing LTE over 100 percent of its sites in Romblon. With 6,400 5G base stations around the country, Smart currently has the fastest and largest 5G network in the country.
PLDT’s fiber optic cables not only support 5G, but they also enable Smart’s LTE services, allowing Smart to deliver faster and more resilient data services to meet the connectivity needs of companies, schools, and families across the province.
Romblon, a third-class province with a population of roughly 300,000 people, is a suitable site for sectors such as marine freight transportation and manufacturing due to its strategic location in the center of trade routes between Luzon and the Visayas.
Boosting local business
For Romblon-based businessman Jimmy Tan, improved connectivity has been a boon to his business, especially as more transactions move online. “I have been based here in Odiongan ever since the lockdowns, and I have been able to do my transactions with banks in Manila, thanks to faster connectivity,” he said. “Better connectivity has also enabled me to attend webinars and online meetings,” he added.
In 2019, Smart launched LTE in the province, offering connection to visitors travelling via Romblon’s ports, including the San Agustin port, which serves as a ro-ro gateway to Sibuyan and Romblon, and the Azagra port in San Fernando.
This development is part of the firms’ larger plan to use inter-island undersea and inland cable systems to connect island provinces to the rest of the country.
This network program not only extends the scope of PLDT’s domestic fiber and Smart’s LTE and 5G coverage to additional locations, but it also improves the network’s resiliency by adding other fiber lines to assure a better customer experience in the case of disasters and numerous fiber failures.
PLDT’s fiber infrastructure spanned over 615,000 kilometers across the country as of the end of September. Smart’s mobile networks, which cover 96 percent of the Philippine population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, are also supported.
The group’s long-standing commitment to helping the Philippines achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDG #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure and SDG #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, is shown in PLDT and Smart’s mission to offer connection for all. [END]