Stronger signal seen to uplift lives of residents in mountain brgys of Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Better connectivity means better lives for the residents of Barangays Guba and Bonbon in Cebu City, two mountainous barangays that now enjoy stronger cellular and data signal after Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) fired up two 4G LTE cell sites in the area.
An hour’s drive away from the central business district, people in these areas used to crave for good connections. With the two new cell sites up and running, residents, their businesses and livelihoods, and, vital facilities like schools and hospitals now can tap mobile data services to improve their lives.
Fr. Peter Necesario, parish priest of St. Niño Parish in Guba, Cebu City said that with stronger signal, they no longer feel isolated, especially during emergencies.
“In times of emergencies such as storms, it is easier for us to communicate and be updated about the weather through the internet,” Fr. Necesario said.
He added that Guba is a strategically located barangay with a community hospital and a church, so communications is very important.
Resident Gemma Sandigan, 40, said that the better mobile phone service helps them address the needs of the community, especially for health care. Her father was the former head of the Guba Community Hospital. Since the community hospital is small, it can’t cater to complex health needs and has to refer patients to bigger hospitals. However, there are times when no vehicles are available to transport the patients.
“With better signal, we can call for vehicles and ask for help in transferring patients to bigger hospitals faster,” Gemma said.
The activation of two new cell sites is part of a larger roll-out plan covering several more mountain barangays of Cebu City developed at the request of Mayor Tomas Osmeña. The city government plans to deploy new services for these communities that requires improved mobile phone coverage and data services.
For Gemma’s mother, 62-year-old Emerlisa Veloso, the benefits are personal. She is thankful for the stronger signal because she can now contact her children who work away from home.
“Before, we really have to get out of the house just to get signal. Now, we can just stay indoors to contact my children. This is a huge help,” Veloso said.
In terms of education, better signal also means better learning.
For 14-year-old Grade 8 student Faith Mae P. Tabal, communication with teachers and classmates for school-related activities has become easier, now that she can use LTE for research and other school work.
Meanwhile, in Barangay Bonbon, farmers are reaping the benefits of good signal and data connection.
Flower farmer Donyo Tapia, 71, said that the better Smart signal has helped him a lot with his flower deliveries.
“Stronger signal is a huge help. They (customers) can just call us when they order flowers. Even if we don’t have the flowers, we can still look for them,” he said.
Tapia also shared that they have the phone numbers to the local market and the customers can now call them for orders anytime and anywhere.
“We can make sure to deliver flowers immediately, especially rush orders, now that the signal is stronger. Unlike before when we still have to go to higher places just to look for signal. It was hard. Now the signal is very strong anywhere,” he added.
Another thankful resident of Barangay Bonbon is 50-year-old micro-entrepreneur Marites Cabos. Upon experiencing stronger signal for calls and LTE for mobile data, she now sells Smart sim cards in her store.
“Before we don’t have network signal from Smart, now we finally have it. We are very thankful because this is a huge help for us here in Bonbon, especially because our children live far away. Now I am also a retailer here because the signal is faster. The LTE data (signal) is now very fast here in Bonbon,” she said.
To date, over 80% of cell sites across Cebu now have LTE.
This continuous expansion of LTE services across Cebu is part of efforts to provide the best mobile data experience across the country.
LTE is the best technology to help bring fast, affordable and reliable mobile internet services to as many customers as possible. It is also quickly upgradable to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), which can provide even greater capacity and speeds to users with capable smartphones.
In Cebu, major cities like Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Mandaue City, for example, already have LTE-A sites.
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