Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) is spending PHP1.4 billion (USD34.1 million) to upgrade its telecoms infrastructure in Palawan with a fibre-optic cable (FOC) to help support the island’s burgeoning tourism industry. In a statement PLDT said that, in partnership with its mobile division Smart Communications, work began this month on the construction of the new FOC cable transmission backbone to Palawan, which is expected to be completed in 1H13. A spokesman for the Filipino giant, Ramon S Isberto, added that the new link ‘will be connected to an existing fibre-optic cable in Iloilo’. The FOC project comprises almost 300km of submarine fibre spanning from Iloilo to northern Palawan, plus another 364km link, running inland to Puerto Princesa City. The newly completed backbone, which will have capacity of 400 gigabits will replace the microwave radio-based system currently used to transmit data in the region, PLDT said.