PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc are asking help from the government agencies to gain access to more than 300 sites for repairs and installation, which would provide a better connection to the public.
PLDT and Smart said areas in 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 are currently inaccessible due to community lockdowns.
“The PLDT Group would like to respectfully appeal to the DICT and DILG to direct LGUs 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 telco companies said in a letter addressed to Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
The PLDT Group said the community quarantines imposed nationwide affected their critical performance activities such as capacity expansion, service restoration, replacement and upgrade of essential facilities, installation works, maintenance, and other urgent work.
“Amid COVID-19, our services have become really essential to our countrymen. 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,” Smart president and CEO and PLDT chief revenue officer Alfredo Panlilio said.
PLDT, Smart ask government for help on 300 sites
“We can only do this if we can continue to broaden and improve our network infrastructure,” he said.
Panlilio earlier noted that the government’s initiative to build more towers easier and faster would be a great help in improving telco companies’ services.
President Rodrigo Duterte threatened during the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he would coordinate with the Congress to remove Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. from the industry if they would not improve their service by December.
Another telecommunication company, Dito Telecommunity Corp., meanwhile was given a franchise to operate in the country. It is supported by businessman Dennis Uy who supported Duterte during his presidential campaign in 2016.