Leading integrated telecom PLDT has deployed additional underwater cable links to connect important islands in Southern Luzon and the Visayas for the first time.
This brings highly-anticipated fiber access to Burias Island in Masbate, Lubang Island in Occidental Mindoro, and Semirara Island in Antique.
In order to celebrate this significant achievement, rituals commemorating cable landing took place this morning in Brgy. Laurente, which is located in the Municipality of San Pascual, Masbate, on Burias Island. At the event were representatives from PLDT Inc. (PLDT) and its wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), led by Group Head/FVP for Network Planning and Engineering Patrick Belicena; Meinardo Opiana, Head/VP for Transport Planning and Engineering; and Robert Pascual, Head of Fixed Transport Engineering, PLDT; San Pascual, Masbate local government officials led by incoming Mayor Zakarina Lazaro, incoming Sangguniang Bayan Erica Lazaro PLDT partner NTT-World Engineering Marine’s Keitaroh Kimoto and Masashi Nakagawa, as well as Laurente Barangay Captain Mary Ann Quibot, Municipal Engineer Ramon Pedrizo Jr., and tourist officer Ma Cecilia Divino; and (NTT-WEM).
This fiber network will improve the island’s present 4G/LTE service and, eventually, enable 5G. It will also soon provide fiber-to-the-home Internet service to households, companies, and communities on Burias Island. With communities across the country in need of connectivity to keep up with the digital era, the Burias deployment marks the near completion of a major PLDT submarine cable program that aims to improve the quality of mobile and internet experience, open digital opportunities for previously unconnected areas, and eventually help drive progress and development.
The fiber connectivity is also expected to assist PLDT and Smart in ensuring network resiliency in Southern Luzon, where typhoons, other natural disasters, and man-made mishaps often inflict destruction and service interruption.
“Fast, reliable and fiber-powered connectivity is essential to the post-pandemic next normal. With fiber available in these areas, we are equipping more Filipinos with improved connectivity that 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,” said Mario G. Tamayo, Head of Technology and PLDT and Smart.
“This is part of PLDT’s major project with technology partner NTT-WEM to deploy additional submarine fiber links to improve connectivity in Luzon, particularly in the southern Luzon provinces of Sorsogon, Quezon, Albay and Occidental Mindoro, and 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,” said Opiana.
PLDT Group has continuously invested in its network. Network-related initiatives made up the bulk of the ₱89 billion spent for 2021. This brings the total Capex spent over the last 10 years to ₱518.5 billion. Capex guidance for 2022 is ₱85 billion.
This particular deployment further expands PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, already the country’s largest at 803,000 kilometers as of end-March 2022. This fiber infrastructure also supports Smart’s mobile network, which had 76,600 total base stations nationwide, providing 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G to customers from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.