GLOBE Telecom, Inc. is adding more cell sites in residential areas as more consumers are now working from or studying at home.

“We’ve been aggressive in the past years, and we continue to be aggressive in upgrading our network…as well as firing up new sites,” said Vincent Tempongko, Globe vice-president for site acquisition and management, at BusinessWorld’s online forum on Wednesday.

“Maybe the slight change in our plan is really adjusting to new traffic patterns as a lot more people are probably going to stay at home, and we’ll probably need more cell sites and capacity in residential areas,” he added.

He also appealed to government agencies, including local government units and barangays, to help hasten the rollout of cell sites in residential areas.

“We need these facilities as near as possible to the consumers so that they can enjoy better and faster Internet,” he said.

Mr. Tempongko also said Globe had been working with various parties in private and government sectors to allow the network upgrade in malls, airports, and train stations during the enhanced community quarantine period.

“We saw that foot traffic was going down in certain areas such as malls, airports, and even LRT and MRT. We saw this as an opportunity to expand our services in these areas by working with mall owners and transport officials to allow us to do the necessary upgrades to our network,” he said.

Globe announced last week that it had obtained the go-signal from the Light Rail Transit Administration (LRTA) to install cell sites along the stretch of LRT-2’s line from Santolan Station in Quezon City to Recto Station in Manila.

Globe supports the goal of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to put up 50,000 cell sites nationwide in seven years.

Former DICT Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. previously said that only about 400 cell sites were erected in the first quarter of the year, well below the government’s target of building 1,785 each quarter.

The department had appealed to local government units and homeowner associations to simplify their permit procedures for telecommunications companies erecting cell sites.

Mr. Rio said that telecommunications companies have to comply with at least 27 requirements to get permits to erect cell sites. He said only around five of those requirements are the responsibility of the national government. — Arjay L. Balinbin