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Romblon Islands now Powered by PLDT Fiber and Smart 5G!

Romblon Islands PLDT Fiber and Smart 5G!

A fiber optic link between the three islands of Romblon province has been activated, making PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc the first telecom to connect the province via fiber.

With PLDT's submarine fiber cables in place, Romblon's three main islands Romblon, Sibuyan, and Tablas, as well as Carabao Island (300 kms south of Manila) are now connected to the rest of the country and the world. This also brings fiber connectivity to Romblon residents, who can soon experience internet speeds at par with those enjoyed in urban areas.

"As we help the nation bounce back from the impact of the pandemic, it is important to connect provinces like Romblon, which is made up of separate islands, and enable their citizens' livelihoods, education, day-to-day transactions, and entertainment in the New Normal," said Mario G. Tamayo, Head of Technology at PLDT and Smart, adding that the improved telco infrastructure in the province can help further boost economic activity in Tablas and Romblon's marble industry.

"Our initiatives in Romblon and other island provinces in the country are part of our ongoing endeavors to ensure that we connect Filipinos wherever they might be," Tamayo said.

LTE and 5G in Romblon
After successfully deploying LTE across 100% of Smart's sites in Romblon, Smart has also recently fired up its first 5G sites in the municipalities of Odiongan and Ferrol. To date, Smart operates the country's fastest and widest 5G network, with 6,400 5G base stations nationwide.

In addition to supporting 5G, PLDT's fiber optic links also enable Smart's LTE services, helping Smart to provide faster and more resilient data services to address the connectivity requirements of businesses, schools, and households in the province.

A third-class province of around 300,000 people, Romblon's strategic location in the middle of trade routes linking Luzon and the Visayas makes the province an ideal location for industries such as sea freight distribution and manufacturing.

Boosting local business
For Romblon-based businessman Jimmy Tan, improved connectivity has been a boon to his business, especially as more transactions move online. "I have been based here in Odiongan ever since the lockdowns, and I have been able to do my transactions with banks in Manila, thanks to faster connectivity," he said. "Better connectivity has also enabled me to attend webinars and online meetings," he added.

Smart first fired up LTE in the province in 2019, providing connectivity to travelers passing through Romblon's ports, like the San Agustin port, the gateway to Sibuyan and Romblon via ro-ro vessels, as well as the Azagra port in San Fernando.

This development is part of the companies' broader effort to connect island provinces to the rest of the country via inter-island submarine and inland cable systems.

Aside from expanding the reach of PLDT's domestic fiber and Smart's LTE and 5G coverage to more areas, this network initiative also enhances the resiliency of PLDT-Smart's network through the addition of alternate fiber routes to ensure better customer experience in the event of calamities and multiple fiber breaks.

As of end September, PLDT's fiber infrastructure spans around 615,000 kilometers nationwide. This also supports Smart's mobile networks, which cover 96% of the Philippine population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.

PLDT and Smart’s push to provide connectivity for all is aligned with the group’s long-standing commitment to help the Philippines attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure and SDG #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. 

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