Filipino incumbent PLDT Inc. will spend PHP11 billion (USD212.7 million) over the next two years to accelerate a network modernisation plan that will see it switching to fibre. The telco has allocated the monies to roll out one million new ‘Fibr’ ports across the country, as well as upgrading more than 1.3 million existing xDSL subscribers to fibre. Under the project, the group targets extending its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) coverage to about four million homes passed by the end of 2017. PLDT Home is also deploying hybrid copper/fibre technologies (e.g. G.fast) to allow existing customers to enjoy fibre-like speeds. First vice president and head of Home Business, Marco Borlongan, confirmed the plan saying: ‘This year, we’ve been rolling out the fibre-to-the-home network nationwide and we’ve also teamed up with world-renowned content platforms and providers to ensure that our subscribers get the best possible home entertainment experience’. As part of PLDT’s ‘levelling up’ initiative, customers currently getting a peak 15Mbps service via ADSL2+ will soon be able to access FTTH speeds of up to 100Mbps, and ultimately up to 1Gbps.
Separately, PLDT’s wireless division Smart Communications has confirmed that it has completed its phased rollout of 4G LTE services covering the major urban hubs of Metro Cebu and Metro Davao, the island resort of Boracay, as well as Rizal province. Smart is currently rolling out LTE in Metro Manila, it says. ‘By end-2018, over 90% of the country’s population will have Smart LTE coverage,’ according to spokesman Oscar Reyes Jr who also reported that Smart’s LTE coverage encompasses a number of key airports: Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Davao City’s Francisco Bangoy International Airport, Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental, Bacolod-Silay International Airport, Iloilo International Airport, Roxas Airport, Zamboanga Airport, Clark International Airport, Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport, Laoag International Airport, General Santos International Airport, Kalibo International Airport and Puerto Princesa Airport. Smart is also present in the sea ports of Batangas City and Calapan in Oriental Mindoro, major bus terminals and thoroughfares, as well as other public areas across the country, he said.
PLDT Inc. has invested around PHP300 billion over the past ten years to roll out fixed and wireless network infrastructure across the Philippines. As part of this, its fibre infrastructure now spans 150,000km of optic cabling.