To meet the growing demand for broadband services in Visayas and Mindanao, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are building new P856-million fiber optic cable (FOC) route linking Cebu to Bohol and Misamis Oriental.
The new facility, initially equipped with 210 Gigabits per second (Gbps) will be completed by September 2013 and boost the resiliency of PLDT transmission links to Bohol and the entire island of Mindanao, the telcos announced yesterday.
"We have fast-tracked this particular project because the demand for broadband services - both from consumers and businesses - is growing rapidly in the Visayas and Mindanao areas," reiterated PLDT and Smart head of network and IP systems, Rolando G. Peña.
"This will further strengthen our fiber advantage over other carriers," he added. "At this point, PLDT and Smart already have over 54,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable assets over the country - several times larger than the resources available to the competition."
The project involves laying down a total of about 450 kms of fiber optic cables from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro City.
A little over 300 kms of that cable will be inland while another 150 kms will be submarine links in the sea between Cebu and Bohol and between Bohol and Misamis Oriental.
The new fiber optic link to Bohol will provide 20Gbps of capacity to the island. The link to Mindanao will carry 190Gbps of capacity.
Improving communication services in Bohol will enable the provincial government to attract more investments from business process outsourcing companies.
"Bohol has been trying to get investors to set up call centers in the province for the past several years. But the lack of robust communications infrastructure has been an obstacle," Pena noted.
Improved communications will also benefit Bohol's tourism program, which has been growing steadily over the past few years.
Tourist arrivals at the island hit the 550,000 mark last year, up from about 460,000 in 2009. The number is expected to rise further as more visitors take to the province's famous beach resorts and eco-tourism attractions.
"More and more tourists now routinely expect to have internet access in their hotels, or on their smartphones, laptops or tablets. With the fiber link to Bohol, we will be better able to support high-speed mobile and fixed broadband," the executive explained.
The project will also add a third leg to the two fiber optic highways already connecting Mindanao to the rest of the country via PLDT's domestic fiber optic network (DFON).
One existing link runs from Cebu to Negros Oriental and then on to Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental, while the other starts in Cebu and then connects Leyte and then Butuan, Caraga region.
"By adding a third fiber link to Mindanao, we will be able to continue providing service in Mindanao even if we suffer two breaks in our transmission networks connecting the island," Peña pointed out.
"This significantly raises the capacity and resiliency of our network and ensures that our subscribers will continue to enjoy high quality service," he concluded.