PLDT, Smart invest P856M for Cebu-Bohol-Mindanao FOC link-A A +A
Thursday, November 1, 2012
PLDT and its mobile phone subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are building a new P856-million fiber optic cable (FOC) route that will connect Cebu to Bohol and then run on to Misamis Oriental.
This new facility, which will be completed by September 2013, will significantly boost the resiliency of PLDT transmission links to Bohol and the entire island of Mindanao.
The new facility will be initially equipped with 210Gbps.
“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,” said PLDT and Smart head of network and IP systems Rolando Peña.
“This will further strengthen our fiber advantage over other carriers. 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,” he said.
The project involves laying down 450 kilometers 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 seas 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.
With communications services in Bohol vastly improved, the provincial government will be able to pursue more aggressively its efforts to attract 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 said.
Improved communications will also benefit Bohol’s successful 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,” Pena said.
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,” Pena explained.
“This significantly raises the capacity and resiliency of our network and ensures that our subscribers will continue to enjoy high quality service,” he added. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 01, 2012.