TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant PLDT Inc. and its mobile arm, Smart Communications have assured of continued internet connectivity even with the scheduled five-day emergency maintenance activities which had been announced earlier.
The assurance came amid concerns from subscribers that the scheduled maintenance work would affect online schooling and work productivity.
PLDT said it has identified alternative cable systems to keep its connectivity “resilient.”
“Students can still do their online studies and exams, and users in homes and businesses can go about their normal internet-based activities during this time,” the company said in a statement.
In an advisory on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, PLDT and Smart announced that services “may be affected” by maintenance activities on the Asian American Gateway (AAG), one of PLDT’s international cable systems.
The maintenance activities are scheduled from 5 a.m. of Saturday, Sept. 26 to 5 a.m. of Sept. 30, Wednesday.
To minimize disruption, measures such as traffic rerouting and local caching have been adopted, PLDT said.
Local caching is a technique used to speed network access to data files.
PLDT said the measures in place will allow PLDT and Smart to still serve all customers at full capacity, during this time, by using the spare and additional capacities on all other cable systems.
PLDT said it has invested substantially in expanding and boosting the capacity of its existing and new international submarine cable systems: Jupiter Cable and Asia Direct Cable Systems to ensure continuous service in situations such as this.
“Such investments are vital because bulk of internet content used by Filipinos comes from overseas. We shall provide regular updates as the operation progresses,” it said.
Meanwhile, Globe has announced its largest network upgrade to date, 10 years after it introduced data with its nationwide network transformation program.
In an advisory, Globe said it has laid out a three-pronged strategy to improve the voice and data experience of its customers.
The first is to accelerate the construction of cell sites to expand its coverage and increase data capacity.
“The faster processing and release of various national and LGU permits are crucial to jumpstart the infrastructure builds to improve the country’s overall state of connectivity,” Globe said.
The company is also working to upgrade all its sites to 4G/LTE using many different frequencies which are important for both coverage and speed.
“With 4G everywhere, the whole country will be data-ready and capable to meet the increasing demands of customers for bandwidth and faster speeds,” Globe said.
The company said it will also fast track the fiberization of Filipino homes to improve data experience using wireline connectivity.
“As Filipinos spend more time at home because of the lockdowns, Globe hopes to address the growing demand for home broadband with a much larger fiber footprint, using only the most advanced technologies,” it said.
Globe said all network upgrades are expected to be completed by 2021.
“Globe is in a much better position now to fulfill the demands of its customers. In heeding the call of the government, we shall endeavor to provide our customers with improved network performance and quality of service,” said Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu.
“We look towards the future where our country would have a strong digital economy backed by resilient and reliable connectivity,” Cu added.
For 2020, the company committed to spend P50.3 billion in capex, majority of which will be spent on its network upgrade initiatives.
Globe previously released a series of network-related updates including the construction of 900 cellsites with five shared independent tower companies (towercos).
Globe also secured 190 permits from 85 local government units (LGU) and conducted network upgrades in eight key areas of Visayas and Mindanao.
Globe said it is also rolling out fiber lines in Cebu, Davao del Sur, Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, and Metro Manila.
The telco’s fiber rollout during the past eight months already represents a 51.4 percent increase over the full year of 2019, Globe said.
To date, the company said, it is proactively migrating customers from copper lines to fiber, free of charge.(WBS with PR)