The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) will be prioritizing network upgrade and expansion in island municipalities in the province to give residents access to faster internet speed.

Carmela Valencia, operations-in-charge of the DICT’s technical division, said Saturday they are currently working to speed up the installation and establishment of connectivity in far-flung areas.

She said cellular sites have already been installed in the islands of Coron, Magsaysay, and Cuyo.

Valencia also said the connectivity project is expected to be completed within the year.

“Hindi naman kasi sabay-sabay lahat, pero hopefully ay matapos,” she added.

In July, the Provincial Board moved to summon officials of major telecommunications companies (telcos) to update them on the status of their upgrades.

Board Member David Francis Ponce de Leon cited the poor connections in the three towns, including Agutaya.

“I was there a couple of months ago and talagang walang internet at sobrang hirap ng signal. Mayroon tayong mga kababayan in that area na talagang galit na galit sa services ng mga telcos. This is just about the lack of services of telecommunications companies in Palawan,” he said.

Ponce de Leon said that while internet signals are available in all municipalities, there are still many outlying barangays that have no telco services.

He said that it is unfair and a burden for residents to buy prepaid phone loads and not get any signal.

Smart Telecommunications Inc.’s legal and regulatory group manager Atty. Anthony Louen Fernandez said they are committed to putting up 90 cellular sites until 2020 with a Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connection to upgrade their services in the mainland and island municipalities.

For 2019, there will be 46 additional cellular sites after the construction of 18 new ones in the towns of Aborlan, Brooke’s Point, Busuanga, Coron, El Nido, San Vicente, Sofronio Espanola, Taytay, and Puerto Princesa.

“This year we have committed to activating a total of 26 LTE sites to be provided with LTE service. In 2018, 2019, and 2020 there will be a total of 90 sites with an LTE,” Fernandez said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.