A Digital Nation for a Wonderful Philippines
Globe is changing the game again by embarking on a new network build that will expand capacity and coverage to deliver a truly wonderful internet experience in the country. We want to deliver a digital lifestyle to every Filipino who wants it, wherever they want it—whether on mobile, at home, or at their workplace. Read more >>
We are continuously building more cell sites, laying down fibers, and replacing copper wires nationwide to increase the existing Globe network's capacity. We aim to provide fast and seamless internet connectivity to 20,000 barangays in 2 million homes by 2020. We will also modernize our wireline data network to increase resiliency and reliability of enterprise connections including Business Process Outsourcing companies as they expand to provincial cities and create more jobs in areas outside the National Capital Region.
- What is the network program of Globe Telecom?
Globe is embarking on a new nationwide infrastructure program to provide world-class internet experience for homes and across businesses, and address issues of internet speed and access. The program will require us to lay down fiber optic cables across targeted barangays all over the country, maximizing the use of existing copper wires through the adoption of new Fixed broadband access technologies. In addition, Globe will continue to build more cell sites to expand coverage and capacity notably from fixed and mobile broadband service. This will allow more towns and cities to be connected to the internet, enabling more Filipinos to live a digital lifestyle and for the Philippines to become a digital nation.
- Compared to previous years, what is new with this network program?
Today's network program is designed to improve the internet experience at home using a combination of fixed and mobile broadband technologies such as xDSL, FTTH, and LTE-A. It will also provide coverage in areas that previously have limited access to the internet. In addition, selected public areas in key cities will be provided with Next Generation Wi-Fi service, which provides an affordable means to access the internet in these areas.
- Why does Globe need to do this when it just implemented a network modernization program a few years ago?
The network modernization program done five years ago involved the change-out of all network equipment for a robust mobile data infrastructure. This paved the way for Globe mobile broadband customers to adopt a digital lifestyle quickly through our new lifestyle content offers. The modernization program also allowed Globe to use the most modern technologies of 3G and 4G for its mobile network.
The network build today will bring a better internet experience at home or at work. This we intend to do by expanding the coverage footprint as well as capacity of our fixed broadband access infrastructure on top of leveraging on newly available spectrum resources to upgrade coverage and capacity of Globe Telecom's fixed and mobile broadband network. This will make internet speed faster and more accessible in areas where today there is no signal or internet service.
- What are the specific objectives of this program?
Globe will expand network coverage and capacity for both wireline and mobile using the different technologies such as xDSL and FTTX, 3G, 4G LTE, and Next Generation Wi-Fi. To do this, it has to deploy fiber optic cables in at least 20,000 barangays all over the country to provide faster and more reliable internet access in about two million homes nationwide. It also aims to increase the number of cell sites in the country. This will not only improve mobile data experience, but also extend network coverage in areas that currently have no connection or have limited coverage.
- How will this new network program impact customer experience?
Once completed, the company's latest infrastructure build will deliver better at-home video and multimedia streaming experience; provide a reliable and consistent experience for over-the-top (OTT) access, gaming, music; and more—all through high-speed internet. The new network infrastructure will also prepare the Philippines for the onslaught of Internet of Things (IoT) services and the Connected Home.
- When will the network program start? When will it finish?
Globe has already started work in some areas and is currently looking for additional areas to build cell sites and lay fiber. To know more, visit this page regularly. The program will take five years to finish.
- How much is the whole project?
Globe has set aside an initial $1 billion to build more network infrastructure within a period of five years.
- How will the program impact Globe Telecom's mobile internet service?
The program, as it progresses, is expected to migrate a significant number of mobile broadband customers to wired broadband solutions. This will provide additional bandwidth for our mobile internet service, enhancing our customers' digital lifestyle whether they are at home, at work, or on the go.
- What is the more prevalent technology in the Philippines in terms of accessibility?
In the Philippines, mobile is the primary technology of connectivity following continued investments of telco operators in wireless technology. Mobile technology has the capability to cover a wide area with greater efficiency than many other technologies particularly in emerging countries with underdeveloped fixed or wired network infrastructure and low levels of urbanization. This, however, has caused a lag in the development of wired broadband technology.
- With all these network upgrade and modernization programs, why is the internet in the Philippines still slow?
There are many factors why the internet experience in the country is not optimal. There are areas where internet experience is slow; there are also areas where internet experience is good. In general, there is a nationwide perception that internet experience in the country needs to improve and this is the reason why telco operators like Globe continue to invest in the network to improve quality and reliability of internet services.
One major factor to all this is the infrastructure gap that needs to be filled to address the overall demand for internet services among consumers and businesses. Today, we only have 21,000 cell sites for over 100 million population that uses the internet either at home or through their mobile phones. We need to build more cell sites to meet the demand. The situation is similar to the state of traffic in Metro Manila. While consumers continue to buy cars, the roads are not optimal and there are not enough public transport facilities to carry commuters in and around the city. The internet superhighway is the same. People continue to buy internet-capable mobile phones and use the internet at home for work and entertainment, but there is not enough capacity to carry everyone on the highway.
Comparing mobile internet experience with fixed internet experience, however, the Philippine internet speed on mobile is being tracked by Akamai Technologies at 8.5 mbps as of 2Q 2016. At this speed, the Philippines is ranked within Top 6 among countries in the Asia Pacific region.
- It is the telcos' business to build. Why is Globe not building enough cell sites?
Globe has admitted to having a backlog of at least 3,000 cell sites today. The process of building a cell site takes at least eight months—this is too long if we are to address the current issues. The key challenges in building cell sites are the permitting issues, right of way, and site acquisition. Dealing with local government units (LGUs) on a per-site basis with no standardized process and no standardized fees takes up a huge portion of the timeline to build a site. To date, there are about 25 different types of permits that a telco operator needs to secure to build one cell site.
The telcos are clamoring for LGU support to help address the internet infrastructure gap. If we are enabled by the government to build faster, only then can we promote better internet services.
- What are the permits needed to build a cell site?
Permits required for the construction of a cell site are as follows:
- Conformity of all residents residing within the radial height of the tower to be constructed
- Homeowners Association consent to the construction of the tower if site is within a subdivision
- Barangay resolution granting approval for the installation, construction, operation, and maintenance of the cell site
- Zoning permit/locational clearance
- Clearance from Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board if within subdivision
- City/Municipal Council Resolution of the LGU where site is located
- Environmental Clearance Certificate or Certificate of Non-Coverage (as the case may be) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
- Special Use Permit from DENR if land where site is located is under a restricted forest area
- Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) if land where site is situated is within the Laguna Lake Protected Area
- Height Clearance from the Air Traffic Office (ATO) of the Civil Aeronautics Administration of the Philippines
- Clearance from Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) if land where site is situated is within the province of Palawan
- Comprehensive Agrarian reform Program (CARP) Clearance from Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) if site is situated within a rice or corn land
- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Clearance if site is situated within a fisheries or aquatic area
- Free and Informed Consent (FIC) from the National Indigenous People's Commission (NCIP) if site is within an Indigenous People's Area (ancestral domain areas)
- Electrical permit
- Sanitation Permit
- Mechanical Permit
- Building Permit
- Radiation Evaluation Report/Study from the Bureau of Radiological Devices of the Department of Health (DOH)
- Occupancy Permit (after completion of the construction; this is required for power/electrical connection)
- Certification of Electrical Inspection
- Permit to Operate Genset (for sites with power generators)
- Mayor's Permit
- What is Globe doing to address these concerns?
Globe is currently pursuing discussions with various stakeholders including local business leaders, industry regulators, local government officials, and our customers, believing that we need to collaborate with these sectors to effectively communicate the need to build more cell sites and improve the current permitting processes. If we have more cell sites, we improve capacity and coverage allowing more people to experience better data connectivity.
- Globe recently gained access to new spectrum assets when it made a partial acquisition of San Miguel's telecommunication assets. How will this impact mobile service of Globe?
Since June 2016, Globe has been aggressively rolling out additional spectrum assets it gained access to such as the 700 megahertz (MHz) as part of its commitment to improve the mobile internet in the country. As of December, close to 500 LTE sites on the previously idle 700 MHz have been activated mostly in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao. The LTE 700 sites cover mostly major business districts and highly urbanized and populated areas where the use of LTE 700 smartphones is steadily increasing. This is expected to substantially improve mobile internet experience of customers in these areas. In addition, other newly required spectrum resources in the 1800 MHz, 2300 MHz, and 2600 MHz have been used to upgrade existing cell sites for additional mobile broadband capacity even as we strive to build more cell sites and deploy fixed broadband technologies to bring world-class internet services to more Filipinos.
- Is it true that social acceptability is also a major deterrent in developing new locations for cell sites?
Yes. In certain residential areas, homeowners are falsely informed of supposed health risks of cell towers. This has led clamor within villages and subdivisions for telco operators to take down cell sites, affecting the signal and quality of connectivity in the area.
- Is it true that having a cell site near your home causes cancer and health hazards?
No, cell sites only transmit radio frequency signals that enable voice and data services in a given geographic area. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no health risk involved even if you live beside a cell site or if the cell site is placed within a residential area. The DOH also closely monitors the installation and maintenance of a cell site. Prior to installation, the DOH, as commissioned by the National Telecommunications Commission, controls and grants permits to install cell site equipment and makes sure they abide by set standards. It is also under the discretion of the health department to continuously monitor the emission settings of cell site equipment after installation.
- What is the new experience in areas covered by the project?
Customers in areas upgraded with fiber optic cables will experience high-speed internet connections that will allow busy homes with multiple IP-connected devices to access streaming services with high-bandwidth content, faster photo and video uploads, and better ping rates for gamers that will allow more interactivity, among others.
- In the process of undertaking the network capacity build, will I experience changes in network quality?
As much as possible, Globe would like to make the experience seamless to its customers. There may be changes in specific areas while the network build is being done. However, in general, mobile and internet services should not be affected while Globe technical teams are working onsite. Underground deployment of fiber optics may cause community disruptions such as unsightly diggings and vehicular traffic, among others. Over-the-air deployment of fiber optics will have minimal impact on communities concerned.
- What other benefits will the program bring to the country?
This initiative will significantly improve data connectivity of the country in general, which will allow millions of Filipinos to gain access to high-speed internet while enhancing the Globe network's disaster resiliency. This will ensure stability of internet service, which is necessary in driving economic growth as more industries and sectors apply information and communications technologies in their operations.
- When will I experience the changes?
For updates on the network program in your area, please visit this page regularly.
Find out if your area is included in the upcoming 3G and LTE upgrade activities.
Check this page regularly for updates on our mobile network initiatives.
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