PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart have asked the government to help in the installation and repair of over 300 telecommunication sites in the country, including Palawan, which they could not access due to the lockdowns brought about by COVID-19.
In a letter addressed to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), PLDT-Smart said areas currently inaccessible due to the pandemic include Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Palawan, Iloilo, Capiz, Samar, Misamis Oriental, and Zamboanga del Norte.
“The PLDT Group would like to respectfully appeal to the DICT and DILG to direct LGUs (local government units) and other concerned sectors to enjoin their immediate cooperation in granting the PLDT Group access to its facilities within their respective areas to conduct critical works,” the letter read.
Aside from the different levels of community quarantine throughout the country, it noted that some LGUs have also imposed further restrictions that impact critical activities such as service restoration, maintenance, installation works, capacity expansion, replacement and upgrade of critical facilities, and other urgent work.
Smart president and chief operating officer and PLDT chief revenue officer Alfredo Panlilio, in a statement, said that services offered by PLDT-Smart have become essential to many due to the pandemic.
“Many of our customers have been affected by the pandemic and the lockdowns, and we are here to help them get back on their feet by making sure that our quality services are always available to them,” Panlilio said.
He said the government has been helpful in improving its services, noting that the joint memorandum circular signed by several government agencies in July for the streamlining of building common towers has so far resulted in the issuance of 211 buildings and pre-construction permits.
“The initiative of government to make it easier for us to build more towers quicker will be a big help in terms of improving coverage,” Panlilio said.
To date, he said PLDT-Smart’s integrated network includes 360,000 kilometers of fiber infrastructure, around 10,000 macro and micro-cell sites, over 20,000 LTE base stations, data centers, and partners for international capacity. (PNA)