Globe Telecom Inc. fired up three cell sites in the municipalities of General Luna, Pilar, and Dapa in Siargao, Surigao del Norte.
“We know that a lot of people in Siargao are looking for better connectivity. The topography of Siargao is quite challenging—a large area, quite hilly, and the population is spread out so it’s very expensive to put up a cell site in Siargao. However we also know its potential given the beauty of the place and its commitment to sustainable tourism,” said Globe president and chief executive Ernest Cu. With these three new cell sites, Cu said Globe brought data services to the island so tourists could share their Siargao experience to the rest of the world.
“We are laying down fiber so that businesses can have better internet connection to aid them in the digitalization of their operations. Since Siargao lacks banks, we enable financial transactions through the mobile phone using GCash. This is just the start, there are more coming up,” he added.
Globe spends about 45 percent of its annual income on telco infrastructure.
Cu asked local government officials in Siargao to help expedite the release of permits for site acquisition and establishment of cell sites if Siargao wanted to become an important player in the Philippine tourism industry.
“The local government units are a major component of our efforts to bring connectivity to the communities. Let us make Siargao an example so that all of these impediments to building infrastructure in this country will go away. We will bring our services to the people because we believe Globe can change people’s lives. We are already doing that through connectivity and financial inclusion, among others,” he said.
Cu cited the perennial problem being encountered by Globe in the deployment of cell sites in the country. From negotiations and documentation of prospective cell site location to securing structural permits and approvals, Globe estimates an average of eight months and over 25 permits before it can build one cellular tower.