Smart’s increased data capacity to benefit users

Smart Communications Inc. has expanded its capacity to carry voice, broadband data and video traffic by 31 percent after enhancing its fiber optic network last year.

In 2010, Smart extended its fiber optic cable network, further augmenting the reach and resiliency of parent company Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.’s Domestic Fiber Optic Network (DFON).

These enhancements, coupled with Smart’s extensive microwave network, make Smart and PLDT the country’s widest and most pervasive communications transmission network.

Smart’s microwave network is utilized to reach remote areas such as Tawi-Tawi in the south to Batanes in the north. On the west side, it reaches Palawan from Batangas in Luzon and from Panay Island in the Visayas.

Aside from serving as an aggregate node to carry traffic to the nearest fiber-optic node, microwave radios are also used as alternate routes for the critical circuits passing through the major fiber-optic networks.

PLDT’s DFON currently spans 10,050 kilometers, connecting 68 nodes and equipped with a total network bandwidth capacity of 1.56 terabytes or the capability of accommodating a total of 24 million simultaneous voice calls or additional capacity of four million DSL connections.

Smart’s improvements resulted in additional capacity for its wireless broadband subscribers in the cities of Baguio and Candon and the province of Laguna in Luzon, the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo in the Visayas, and the cities of Tagum, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.

The installation of additional fiber optic cables, from the PLDT/Smart backbone network down to the base transceiver stations, is expected to provide greater bandwidth to consumers accessing large chunks of data from the Internet via fixed and mobile devices.

The enhancements not only supply additional capacity for mainstream voice and SMS services, but should also enable a richer multimedia experience, faster Internet browsing and video streaming.

To date, major backbone areas with both high-capacity fiber optics and high-capacity microwave network cover Regions 1 and 2, Baguio to Bulacan, Bicol region, Panay to Negros to Cebu, Zamboanga to Ozamiz and Cagayan de Oro to Davao up to General Santos City.

The aggressive deployment and expansion of fiber optic networks is in line with Smart’s thrust to lead the Filipino mobile phone users’ shift to Internet-capable smartphones in large numbers over the next two to three years.

Smart is introducing an array of smartphones and tablets, led by its “Netphone,” as well as low-cost Internet service packages in the next few months.

At the same time, the company will further beef up its cellular data network in anticipation of the growing volume of mobile data.

As a result, the PLDT Group is expected to raise its capital expenditures to over P30 billion this year.

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