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Telcos to improve signal in Camotes
By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Smart and Globe officials assure Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia that they will upgrade their cell site facilities in the islands of Camotes in response to observations that there is low signal transmission in the island during the reopening of tourism activities last weekend. (Junjie Mendoza)

Telecommunications providers Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecoms assured the Cebu Provincial Government that they will upgrade their cell site facilities in the islands of Camotes "within a month’s time" following complaints from town mayors and resort operators of the islands’ poor internet service.

The two giant telecom firms appeared before Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday, August 11 for a meeting to discuss on the concerns raised by the mayors and resort operators during the reopening of tourism activities on Saturday, August 8.

Island guests reportedly complain of their difficulty in getting a good signal on their smartphones or when using their laptops and other gadgets in order to get connected to people or post to social media.

Resort owners also find it difficult to promote their businesses because of the same problem. 

Jimmy Chua, assistant vice president and head of PLDT Enterprise-Visayas, told Sugbo News they will check their existing sites in the islands and troubleshoot what needs to be upgraded. 

"Among i-check ang mga sites ug asa dapit ang iya concerns (ug) amo tan-awon unsa mahimo namo nga upgrading kay naka fiber naman na amo mga cell sites. Maybe gamay ra kaayo ang buhaton para ma-upgrade namo ang bandwith para mokusog-kusog ang signal didto," Chua said.

PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Telecoms has a total of 9 sites in the islands.

"Maybe within the month based sa karon existing namo, ma-upgrade ang signal," he assured.

"I'll bind them to that commitment," the governor said in a separate interview after their meeting.

It was learned that PLDT's upgrading is ongoing in Camotes with 1 cell site still pending construction due to some issues with a lot owner in the area. 

During their meeting, the governor offered company officials that she can facilitate with the mayors on issues arising in the setting up of cell sites. 

"Tell me kung unsay matabang namo and I will call all the mayors para dili mo maglisud-lisod anang permits and road right of way," the governor said.

Chua, for his part, was grateful for the meeting since it provided an avenue where the government and the private sector can work together to address problems. 

"This is good kay we can work together with the mayors and the province kay mao man sab ang amo gusto gyud nga ma-improve ang signal kay kasabot man mi nga kinahanglan ang internet gyud," he said.

Garcia said her only request from the internet service providers was to prioritize the resorts and tourism sites in Cebu especially now that it has re-opened tourism. 

She said having a seamless internet connectivity will also coincide with the province's thrust of establishing an e-wallet system to future guests in Cebu's tourism sites.

Globe officials also assured the governor that it will troubleshoot the concerns raised in the Camotes group of islands.

It also promised to look into upgrading its services in the rest of the tourism sites in the province including Barangay Tan-awan in Oslob which was the first to re-open. 

The Provincial Tourism Office will be providing both companies a list of the tourism sites in the province so it can verify on its connectivity strength and provide better service. (Vanessa L. Almeda)