The country’s largest and only integrated telco PLDT announced that the roll out of its Home broadband services has reached 46% of the total cities and municipalities nationwide as of end-September 2020, providing high-speed broadband connectivity to more Filipinos.
PLDT’s capacity likewise continued to expand, with the total number of fiber ports available for the use of new customers increasing to 3.81 million by end-September 2020.
The Company plans to raise the number of fiber ports by 336,000 more, such that its fiber and copper ports will total 4.15 million by the end of 2020.
In areas where its fiber service is not yet available, PLDT continues to deploy its wireless Home WiFi service powered by its mobile subsidiary Smart’s 4G/LTE network.
PLDT Chairman, President and CEO Manuel V Pangilinan said, “We believe that in about a year or two, the ability of delivering fixed wireless services to the homes will increase significantly. PLDT is focusing on fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) which is considered future proof. We think FTTH will still remain the best platform to deliver services like entertainment, video, sports, and the like.”
The FTTH roll out serves the data connectivity needs of Filipinos in the country, especially during these pandemic times when more people are working and studying from home.
“With this broadband network, PLDT is not only increasing the number of new FTTH connections, we have also launched a program to convert all our customers still using copper-based ADSL services, to fiber-powered services over the next 18 months,” said PLDT Chief Revenue Officer and Smart President Alfredo S. Panlilio.
“PLDT is ramping up its capabilities to be able to serve more Filipinos nationwide by rolling out more fiber and more ports in different parts of the Philippines than it has ever done before because we want to connect as many Filipino families as we possibly can to our fiber network which is the most extensive fiber infrastructure in the country,” Panlilio noted.
Faced with the challenge of meeting the surging demands for PLDT’s fiber-powered broadband service especially during the enhanced community quarantine months, the Company’s network service teams have worked out how to operate under pandemic conditions and have been able to steadily ramp up their installation capacity.
“We continue to improve in finding ways to make things easier and simpler for our customers. Our direction is to go digital – thus the drive to enable our customers to do more online: get their bills, pay their bills, get help. This is also a needed shift given the global situation today where customers must stay safe in their homes,” said PLDT-Smart First Vice President and Commercial Operations Head Marco Borlongan.
He added that with the current general community quarantine, PLDT and Smart have been able to reinstate the manpower needed to operate frontline teams. “Most of our stores have re-opened. Our network field teams are tirelessly working to fulfill installation and repair requests. Our call center is now back to serving customers 24 hours a day for repair-related concerns.”
According to PLDT Senior Vice President for PLDT Home Menardo G. Jimenez, Jr., “The expansion of the FTTH roll out will enable more families to avail of PLDT Home Fibr’s services that include sending data from their device as fast as they can receive it from others. Uploading is necessary when sending files via emails, conducting meetings via video calls, backing up data to online or cloud storage services, or for playing online games.”
During the stricter quarantine period until June 2020, PLDT Home had initiated the #Safe@Home program to provide the strongest connections at home and ensure continued services for customers. The program included giving Home Fibr customers a free speed boost to at least 25 Mbps and double-the-data packages for fixed wireless subscribers.
From June 2020 onwards, PLDT Home has launched the #RediscoverHome campaign, enabling families to realize that everything that matters can be found in their homes. #RediscoverHome features Fibr Plus plans that offer unlimited Fibr, Whole Home WiFi coverage, and Cignal HDTV.
Responding to the increased demand for digital connectivity, PLDT has invested heavily on its network. Over the past five years, its capex – most of which was poured into its network buildout – reached P260 billion. Capex was particularly high in the last two years – when PLDT ploughed back 38% of its revenues in 2018 and 45% of its revenues in 2019 back into capex – clear evidence of its commitment to improve its services.
PLDT’s capex is expected to reach at least P70 billion in 2020. Its network spending will remain sizable next year as it further expands its fiber network.
The total footprint of PLDT’s fiber optic network has expanded to 395,000 kilometers in the first nine months of 2020 – the most extensive and advanced digital transport network in the country.