TELECOM  FIRMS  SEE  NORMAL  SERVICE WITH  FULL RESTORATION  OF  POWER

MANILA, OCTOBER 1, 2006
 (STAR) By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes - Telecommunications companies expect normal service to resume once commercial power has been fully restored.

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) in a statement said its facilities in various areas of Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan have been affected by long periods of lack of commercial power and damages brought about by Typhoon ‘Milenyo.’

Company officials said repairs on these facilities are proceeding round the clock. "Telephone and Internet service in these areas are expected to be fully restored in the next 24 to 48 hours. Meantime, subscribers may experience intermittent service until all facilities are fully restored," they explained.

For its part, Gokongwei-owned Digitel, which operates the second largest landline service facility in the country, said most of the network interruptions currently being experienced are due to the Luzon-wide power outage brought about by the strong typhoon. "We expect normal service to resume once commercial power has been restored and stabilized," Digitel senior vice president for legal services William Pamintuan noted.

But inspite of the resumption of electric power in many areas in Metro Manila, complaints continue coming in regarding cellular phone service.

Globe Telecom vice president Froilan Castelo said that as of 6 a.m. yesterday, around 55 percent of the service in Metro Manila has been restored. He said except for Region 5 (Bicol region) which was the hardest hit, mobile phone service in other regions in Luzon such as Regions 1, 2, and 3 have been partly restored.

But like their landline counterparts, cellular companies are also highly dependent on electricity to run their cell sites. "We therefore expect the situation to normalize once electricity has been fully restored," Castelo pointed out.

He emphasized that their engineering people are in restoration mode, and have not made a full assessment of the extent of the damage.

Castelo revealed that many cell sites are misaligned, which accounts for the fluctuating signal as mobile phone service works based on line of sight. There are also cell sites that have been damaged if not toppled by the strong typhoon.

For its part, Smart Communications said 95 percent of mobile service in Metro Manila has already been restored.

Smart network services head Rolando Peña said in an interview that only three cell sites in Quezon province were brought down by the strong rains and wind, so that it might be necessary to look for alternative sites. Other cell sites were merely damaged and will involve repair, especially those in South Luzon. "We expect full restoration in Metro Manila in the next 24 hours," he revealed.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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