Globe has rolled out three new cell sites on Siargao to “promote financial inclusion and business growth” on the Filipino island.
Housed in the province of Surigao del Norte, the tourist destination is located around 200km south east of Tacloban, with the build taking place in municipalities of General Luna, Pilar and Dapa.
“We know that a lot of people in Siargao are looking for better connectivity,” said Ernest Cu, president and CEO, Globe. “The topography of Siargao is quite challenging - a large area, quite hilly, and the population is spread out so its 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.”
Through the deployment of three new cell sites, Cu said the telecommunications provider is offering data services to the island in a bid to drive digital adoption from both business and tourist perspectives.
“We are laying down fibre so that businesses can have a better Internet connection to aid them in the digitalisation of their operations,” Cu added. “Since Siargao lacks banks, we enable financial transactions through the mobile phone using GCash. This is just the start, there is more coming up.”
Cu said Globe - which spends roughly 45 per cent of its annual income on telco infrastructure - is now calling on local government officials in Siargao to help "expedite the release" of permits for site acquisition and establishment of cell sites across the island.
Currently, Globe estimates an average of eight months and over 25 permits before it can build one cellular tower.
“The local government units are a major component of our efforts to bring connectivity to the communities,” Cu said. “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.”
According to Cu however, a "perennial problem" exists 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 a process lasting eight months on average, including more than 25 permits before the provider can build one cellular tower.