SMART Communications, Inc. said it is boosting the capacity of its 4G/LTE network nationwide to address the growing data traffic caused by a pandemic-induced enhanced community quarantine.

At the same time, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is requesting local government units (LGUs) and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) to allow telecommunications personnel to enter their areas to ensure uninterrupted service during the lockdown period.

“With Internet usage rising due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. is further upgrading its mobile data service by boosting the capacity of its 4G/LTE network throughout the country,” Smart said in a statement.

It said it is reallocating this month its assigned 1800 MHz frequencies from 2G to 4G/LTE.

“This shift will impact on a large share of Smart’s LTE sites throughout the country and will increase the volume of data traffic that these facilities can handle,” Smart added.

For his part, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba said: “Having steady and efficient internet access in the coming weeks is absolutely necessary. I appeal to LGUs and HOAs to allow telco personnel easy entry into their communities to ensure that we have dependable internet connection in the coming days.”

The NTC said Mr. Cordoba issued the statement following complaints from telecommunications companies that their personnel tasked to lay out connections or do repair works are being blocked by personnel of LGUs and gated villages.

Telco service providers have been seeking to ensure continuity of operations to handle the surge of users working from home during the lockdown period.

“The telco personnel out in the field are also frontliners. They are doing their job so you can stay safe at home. We need to allow them access to your areas to either connect new homes to the internet or fix technical issues. They need all our support and cooperation,” Mr. Cordoba said. — Arjay L. Balinbin