Friday, July 15, 2011

Smart continues rollout of high-speed Internet in Vis-Min

By Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - As part of its mission to make high-speed Internet available to all Filipinos, leading wireless services provider Smart Communications Inc. continues to roll out Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) technology to more key areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.

HSPA+ is an upgraded version of High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology. Based on the standards set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), HSPA+ is the fastest form of 3G which Smart has been conducting tests since 2009.

According to PLDT and Smart technology group head Rolando Pena, a significant number of cities and municipalities in the central and southern parts of the Philippines now have access to HSPA+, including key areas such as Cebu City, Davao City, Iloilo City and Zamboanga City.

“We are fully committed to improving the Internet experience throughout the country and we believe that HSPA+ will play a big role in achieving that goal. More upgrades are slated in the coming weeks,” Pena said.

Last April, Smart introduced the country’s first and only Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network in Boracay. Earlier this month, Smart conducted the first public demo of LTE in Metro Manila.

Equally important in providing an extraordinary Internet service is a solid backhaul composed of fiber optic cables and microwave transmitters which deliver data from the wireless base stations to the core network. Smart, together with its parent company Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), own the largest fiber optic network consisting of 42,000 kilometers of cables in a looped configuration for unparalleled resiliency.

“It is very important to ‘loop’ the cables because that allows for uninterrupted transmission even when the primary communication lines have been severed. By the end of this year, we’re looking to install an additional 3,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables,” Pena added.

Efforts to improve Smart’s network infrastructure is in line with what PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan refers to as the industry’s “Sputnik Moment”. The phrase, which was originally used by US President Barack Obama, is used to describe a time when companies have to make new investments to be able to move forward.

Similarly, Smart president and CEO Napoleon Nazareno said the conglomerate is committed to upgrading its network.

“We are undertaking a massive modernization program of our mobile and fixed networks. For the next two years, we have committed a total of P67 billion to expand and upgrade the core, access and backroom support elements of our network,” Nazareno said.


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