The Philippines’ longest domestic submarine fiber cable project has landed on the shores of Siargao, ready to deliver faster and reliable connectivity on the island as it paces through recovery in the wake of Typhoon Odette and the prolonged pandemic.
The Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN), a project by digital solutions platform Globe, premier telecommunications and ICT solutions provider Eastern Communications, and growing telecommunications and digital solutions provider InfiniVAN, reached Siargao on September 22 with the promise of better connectivity for residents, tourists and businesses.
Siargao is one of the landing points of PDSCN, a $150-million project that aims to improve both mobile and broadband connectivity and fiberize previously unserved areas across the country’s three main island groups.
The project is in line with Globe’s support for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which underscores innovation and infrastructure as crucial drivers of economic growth.
The three partners marked a new milestone this month with the arrival of fiber cables in the Municipality of Dapa to increase network capacity in Siargao. Once fully rolled out, the cable will help improve connectivity on the island.
As it is separated from Surigao del Norte’s capital Surigao City by the Philippine Sea, Siargao, a globally renowned beach destination and referred to as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, only relies on microwave radio for its telecom network services.
With the PDSCN project, the move will not only allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the area to thrive but also enhance the experience of residents and local and foreign visitors.
Rene Martin Go, Senior Director for Transport Engineering and Optimization at Globe, said fiber connectivity will help Siargao communities recover faster from the impact of Typhoon Odette. Siargao was one of the areas hardest hit by the super typhoon in December 2021.
“We all saw how Super Typhoon Odette severely affected Siargao. We believe fiber connectivity will help the community recover faster. Through improving the island’s communication infrastructure, our project will help boost businesses, support connectivity needs for school and work, and provide a better-connected environment that is conducive to tourism,” said Go.
“Connecting islands, small or big, across the Philippine archipelago, will bring positive outcomes in improving the lives of the residents of Siargao in particular,” said Delfin Lopez, Eastern Communications Head of Network Planning, Engineering, and Implementation Division.
Alberto Espedido, InfiniVAN Chief Technology Officer said the project is very timely as many people are still doing a lot of their tasks remotely, including working from home.
“Working remotely is elevated further because now people can even work from paradise. We all know Siargao is a hub for digital nomads from around the world. This particular PDSCN does not only connect the major islands of the country but also connects several tourist islands, including Siargao,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dapa town Vice Mayor Gerry Abejo thanked the project proponents for bringing better connectivity to the island.
“We all know how important infrastructure is in supporting the progress of Dapa and the entire Island of Siargao, which has nine municipalities. With the improvements on network connectivity, this benefits not only the residents of the island but also the tourists and investors willing to participate in continuing to develop Siargao into a first-class tourist destination,” Abejo pointed out.
PDSCN covers a total cable distance of roughly 2,500 kilometers or about the same distance between Manila and Singapore.
Last August, the joint venture sent off the state-of-the-art ship Cable Infinity of Japanese vendor Kokusai Cable Ship Co. Ltd. to ferry the cables manufactured by fiber optic cable maker Nexans S.A. The cables are made of a 96-core fiber optic with single and double armor protection.
Before Siargao, PDSCN landed cables in Lucena City, Boac, Marinduque, Calatrava, Romblon, Roxas City, Placer, Masbate, Iloilo City and Bacolod City.
Segments for the submarine cable network will be completed by April 2023, and fiber connections will be activated right after.
After spending an all-time high of P92.8 billion for network expansion and improvements last year, Globe has allocated another P89 billion for its capital expenditures this year to provide a #1stWorldNetwork to Filipinos nationwide.