As part of its mission to make high speed Internet available to all Filipinos, leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) continues to roll out Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) technology to more key areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.
3G on Steroids
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 and Smart has been conducting tests since 2009.
According to PLDT and Smart Technology Group Head Rolando G. Peña, 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” said Peña. “More upgrades are slated in the coming weeks.”
Last April, Smart also 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.
A Strong Back End
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 the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), has a fiber optic network consisting of 42,000 kilometers of cables in 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” said Peña. “By the end of this year, we’re looking to install an additional 3,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables.
Efforts to improve Smart’s network infrastructure is in line with what PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan calls 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 L. Nazareno said during last month’s PLDT Annual Stockholders’ Meeting that the conglomerate is committed to upgrading its network.
“We are undertaking a massive modernization program of our mobile and fixed networks” said Nazareno. “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.”