The restoration of telecom services in areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Odette last December depends on several factors and is not solely reliant on telcos, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu has said.
At Globe’s FY/Q4 2021 briefing, Cu pointed out that several dependencies make rebuilding at an accelerated pace extremely challenging despite relentless efforts to hasten network restoration. He said a large part of the extended outages is due to the absence of commercial power and poles for fiber lines.
Cell towers and other facilities require electricity to work continuously. Although Globe has emergency power supplies like generator sets, these are not enough for sustained operations.
Visayan Electric, the region's primary electricity provider, has reported over 2,500 damaged poles, more than 450 broken distribution transformers, and over 330 circuit kilometers of downed power lines. Because of the magnitude of the typhoon damage, re-electrification in affected areas is yet to be completed.
The Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative (Soleco) also disclosed that as of February 4, only 28.83% of villages in the province have been partially re-energized. In its February 10 report, the Palawan Electric Cooperative estimated full power restoration within the month.
Cu said broadband providers like Globe depend on the poles of local cooperatives to put up fiber lines needed to connect to people’s homes. Without the poles, provision of broadband services is hampered, he added.
Telcos, meanwhile, cannot install fiber lines on ground level due to road repairs and widening. For aerial installation, there is road clearing or bush clearing that may occur.
“We have experiences where after restoration during a typhoon, a local government unit will come around, clear the trees that have fallen, and suddenly cut the fiber once again,” Cu explained.
“It’s a kind of whack-a-mole type situation for us when it comes to restoration. I think one has to consider everything that goes around and needs to be done to restore services,” Cu said.
Nevertheless, Globe’s ground teams have been tirelessly working to bring back 90% of its telecom services to its customers within the month and the remaining 10% by mid-March. As of February 14, network restoration to customers’ homes has reached more than 80% for Visayas and Mindanao. Reinforcements are also continuously being sent to Cebu to fast-track restoration efforts in the area.
Globe strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDG No. 9, highlighting the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development. It is committed to upholding the UN Global Compact principles and contributing to 10 UN SDGs.
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