One of the hardest sectors hit by the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is the country’s workforce. The travel restrictions, health protocols, and practically stoppage of thousands of companies and industries all over Luzon have resulted in many layoffs and changes in how people work as compared to the pre-COVID19 routine.
Companies like Globe are capable of becoming economic catalysts during these times. Keeping people connected requires a reliable network with capacity and coverage, and this is an area of opportunity to provide jobs.
If a local government unit allows Globe to build one single cell site in its area, potentially jobs can be created. Even as the company employs people to design, engineer, and build a cell tower, it needs outside help, usually done through vendors and outsourced parties to do the actual deployment and later on the continuing operation of the cell site. The limited movement of people from one municipality or city to another makes it practical for the company to enlist the services of skilled workers in the area where it will build the cell site.
From the very start of acquiring a site to build on, people are needed to look for the ideal site location, getting approval from lot owners and securing permits needed for the structure plus other concerns.
“There are a lot of skilled manpower resources needed to set up one cellsite. Other than Globe's own people there are many others involved in a cell site build. In building the cell site, you will need civil engineers, construction people—masons, electricians, carpenters, welders, vertical construction workers, painters, and other workers—to build the tower,” said Joel Agustin, Globe SVP for Program Development, Network Technical Group.
For a typical cell tower at least 20-25 people will do the civil works, 10-15 workers will work on the rooftop, five to seven persons will be assigned to do the outside plant duties like laying fiber optic cables, pole erection, and other needed tasks.
Two or three people will be detailed for transport services while four to five more people from the company will also be needed for other concerns.
Once the tower is built the next phase is the installation of cell site equipment. At this stage, there will be a need for individuals who are specially trained and with highly regarded skillsets—electronics technicians, equipment installers, antenna riggers, and of course, engineers.
Once the cell site has been put on-air, another team will need to perform what we call as network optimization, and this process also requires drivers and radio network optimization engineers to perform drive tests and measurements to ensure that the new cell site is actually working correctly and providing the additional coverage and capacity it was intended to provide.
On the ground, onsite foremen, field supervisors, a timekeeper, salary officer, and security guards will be hired. People who will deliver construction materials and other materials will also be needed.
“Even more interesting while there is construction you will have people, usually from the local community, who will sell food, water, soft drinks, cigarettes and maybe even load to all the people working on site. Some workers would even rent a place near the site to save on travel time and all the hassles of passing through one checkpoint to another just to reach the site,” Agustin added.
Construction of a single cell tower may take from six to 22 weeks, depending on its design and location. For residents without a job, six to 22 weeks of a steady source of livelihood makes a big difference in their desire to put food on the table for their loved ones.
Not only the residents will benefit if an LGU allows Globe to proceed with its expansion targets. The whole municipality or city will also reap the rewards of having a reliable source of connectivity. Local economies are also expected to flourish because the community will be able to link up with prospective customers, investors, and even business partners.
LGUs now play a crucial role in providing the right connectivity infrastructure for workers and businesses as they shift to work from home, online business, and other transactions in the new normal.
“What happens in the rural areas is that once a cell site is built, economic activities usually follow. Communities begin to thrive because so many opportunities were opened to them. We have seen this in remote areas with poor signal before. Because of this, it is no longer an option for LGUs to approve sites where we can build or increase our capacity but becomes an essential part of their governance agenda to ensure their community is enabled,” Agustin explained.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Globe remains committed to bringing the best possible service to its customers. Despite travel restrictions, Globe has aggressively pushed for network expansion as people work from home and more companies rely on telcos for their internet connections.