By Edd K. Usman
Wi-Fi connectivity at the four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has just received a speed boost after PLDT upgraded its Smart WiFi at the facility to ?carrier-grade?.
On Friday, Sept. 23, PLDT and Smart Communications chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and Department of Transportation (DOTr) secretary Arthur Tugade led the launch of the improved connectivity at the newly renovated terminal 1 of the NAIA.
The upgrade services is seen as helping boost Philippine tourism, considering over 30 million travelers use the NAIA every year. “Today’s travelers are constantly online and rely on mobile apps for information and services that make their trips enjoyable and productive,” said Pangilinan.
Tugade cited PLDT and Smart for the installation of the high-speed internet service, noting that he asked Pangilinan to establish Wi-Fi in the country’s various airports and seaports.
Smart has put forth a budget of around P1 billion for the first stage of deployment of its carrier-grade connectivity. In turn, the P1-billion allocation is part of the PLDT Group’s P48-billion capital expenditure program for 2016, targeting the improvement of data connectivity harnessing both fixed and wireless services nationwide.
Eric R. Alberto, PLDT and Smart executive vice president, said its tie-up with the government is an example of a public and private partnership that is beneficial to the public.
?With the installation of Smart WiFi at NAIA, we are on track to meeting our commitment to government to make available carrier-grade WiFi services in major transport hubs all the country,” said Alberto, who is also president and CEO of ePLDT, the Internet arm of PLDT.
Ramon Isberto, public affairs chief of PLDT and Smart, said their carrier-grade internet service at the NAIA terminals, each with a backhaul capacity of 1 gigabit per second, can accommodate up to around 3,000 simultaneous users.
Isberto described “carrier-grade” as connectivity with “a certain level of quality of service, both in terms of resiliency and in capacity.
DOTr and PLDT earlier signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the installation of the high-speed connectivity service in the country’s key transport hubs with a timetable of completion set inside the first 100 days of the administration Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte.
The two firms started rolling out the Smart WiFi service and completed installation in 11 regional airports that served 15 million passengers in 2015.
The first facility to get the wireless service was the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, Mindanao?s busiest, on July 19. This was followed by the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental; Bacolod-Silay International Airport; Iloilo International Airport; Roxas Airport; Zamboanga Airport; Clark International Airport; Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport; Laoag International Airport; General Santos International Airport; and Kalibo International Airport.
In the country’s seaports, Smart Wi-Fi is now also available at the Batangas International Port, Batangas City and Calapan City Port in Mindoro Oriental.
PLDT and Smart plans to deploy the connectivity next at the airports in Caticlan Aiport, gateway to Boracay Island; Puerto Princesa, Palawan; and Tagbilaran City in Bohol.
To follow are the terminals of the Metro Railway Transit (MRT) and Light Railway Transit (LRT) in Metro Manila. Going forward, the initiative will also be covering high-traffic areas such as city halls, schools, hospitals, malls, and many other sites.