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Telco PLDT Inc. is seeking cooperation from the government and other service providers to help in ensuring the safety of fiber optic cables from construction and excavation activities, saying their cables are seen as most vulnerable to external factors and events that are beyond their control.

PLDT regulatory and strategic affairs head Aileen Ragio appealed for proper and prior coordination before construction and excavation activities are conducted to help avoid incidents of damage to fiber optic facilities that could result to hampered or disrupted telecommunications services.

To help mitigate the impact of a physically cut or damaged fiber optic cable, telcos have put in place resiliency and redundancy programs for their infrastructure but accidental physical cuts to fiber networks have still been found to cause service disruption.

The bulk of disruptions encountered by the company was found to have been caused by man-made incidents that accidentally damage cables. Incidents that include road excavation, drainage projects, bridge construction, diggings, and related works have caused significant service interruptions and outages. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic makes restoration efforts more challenging.

With a significant chunk of the population dependent on connectivity as they work and study from home, preventing outages should by now be a public-private partnership. Government projects that could damage communication cables need to be undertaken with more care and coordination to ensure that the people who are depending on connectivity are unnecessarily cut off from livelihood and education.

The government’s Build, Build, Build program can be beneficial to the country, especially with the economy grinding to a halt due to the pandemic. However, with a little more care and coordination, the construction and improvements can be done without disrupting the lives of those who are stuck at home and dependent on internet connectivity to be productive these days.*

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