GLOBE Telecom, Inc. is working to typhoon-proof its fiber network by shifting to an underground cabling system, a company official said on Tuesday.

“One of the interesting things we’re doing now is seeing how we can typhoon-proof our network, moving our cables underground,” said Don Rae, senior advisor for Globe’s enterprise group, during a briefing.

Services of telecommunications companies are constantly disrupted whenever a strong typhoon hits the country. In December last year, several areas in Mindanao and the Visayas lost telecommunication lines due to Typhoon Odette.

Various groups have urged the government to consider underground cables as part of its disaster resiliency strategy to prevent massive blackouts during calamities like Typhoon Odette.

Utility service providers have said they are willing to shift to an underground cable system, but this would require government subsidies and proper planning on the part of public officials.

Department of Public Works and Highways-National Capital Region (DPWH-NCR)  Regional Director Nomer Abel P. Canlas told BusinessWorld in February that there was a proposal to bury overhead utility lines in Metro Manila.

In March, Mr. Canlas said his office requested some P200 million for the project in the 2023 National Expenditure Program.

The funding will support both the feasibility study and infrastructure that will house the buried cables.

The DPWH is also hoping to “subsidize the transfer costs” for distribution companies that use overhead cable like Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and telecommunications companies. Water utilities may also be supported in moving their above-ground transmission assets.

Mr. Canlas noted that the project could be revenue-positive for the government by making utility companies pay to use the infrastructure that will house the buried lines.

The feasibility studies were planned to be conducted along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) and the Katipunan Avenue Extension. Mr. Canlas said the DPWH also wants to include the Radial Road 10 or R10.

Among the benefits to utility companies is that they get to skip the step of acquiring road right-of-way for their posts,  Mr. Canlas said.

Mr. Rae likewise said that Globe group is building “extensive facilities” for cybersecurity, which is becoming increasingly important as more people work from home. — Arjay L. Balinbin