Responding to the challenges faced by the country’s higher education sector, PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have signed an agreement with Batangas State University (BatStateU) to provide connectivity solutions to the institution’s students and faculty.
By the fourth quarter of the year, fast, reliable, and fiber-powered Smart WiFi will be rolled out across the eight campuses of BatStateU located in Nasugbu, Alangilan, Lemery, Lipa, Rosario, Pablo Borbon, Malvar, and Balayan in anticipation of the resumption of in-person instruction.
The school administration is designing a blended learning approach in which half of the classes will be conducted virtually, while the other half will be held face-to-face.
“In preparation for the return of our students to school, this free WiFi service is a significant addition to our existing bandwidth capacity. Not only that, it also addresses the challenge of connecting the many different campuses of Batangas State University in the midst of the New Normal,” said Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo, BatStateU President.
“I thank Smart for this endeavor, and I hope that this partnership will really bring about utmost productivity in our university,” added Dr. Ronquillo, who also authored the program Building Research and Innovation Development Goals for Engineering SUCs (BRIDGES).
Dr. Ronquillo represented BatStateU at the virtual contract signing together with VP for Development and External Affairs Atty. Noel Omandap and Director for ICT Services Engr. Joselito Santos. The BatStateU leaders were joined by PLDT and Smart representatives led by Smart FVP and Luzon Regional Head for Consumer Sales Group John Y. Palanca, VP and Head of Consumer WiFi and Mobile Advertising Nikko Galvez, and AVP and Head of Community Solutions and Business Development Pedro Luis de Guzman.
BatStateU, Center of Excellence
BatStateU, the largest state university in the region, is one of the country’s esteemed tertiary education institutions. With its Electronics Engineering program designated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as a national Center of Excellence, the university also boasts of its Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Development Communication, and Teacher Education programs as national Centers of Development.
Having proven itself in the field of technology and innovation, BatStateU has previously partnered with Smart through its Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP), a one-of-a-kind initiative that aims to produce industry-ready graduates and technopreneurs through a series of technology trainings, online courses, and an annual innovations competition for students.
"Our mobilization of the Smart WiFi service supports BatStateU’s mission of providing a 21st century learning environment by creating more avenues for young innovators to utilize technology for boundless access to knowledge and information," said Palanca, adding that with dedicated speeds of at least 100 Mbps, Smart WiFi will facilitate the dynamic teaching and learning process among members of the BatStateU community.
The internet as the great equalizer
Citing a report by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) early this year, Palanca said that about four out of 10 Filipino students lack either the technology or the device needed for distance learning. "Smart aims to avert such learning crises by investing in projects that narrow the digital divide and by partnering with learning institutions such as BatStateU to create a connected society on an equal ground," he said.
Through an inclusive infrastructure, Atty. Omandap recognizes the timeliness of Smart’s connectivity services and solutions, explaining that the present situation demands the availability of a strong and secure internet connectivity to accommodate alternative work arrangements and flexible learning.
“Reliable internet connectivity not only benefits all our stakeholders but also further capacitates our efforts to connect the BatStateU community over the existing means that we have. It is our privilege to be your partner in promoting ‘Smart universities’ across the country. In this regard, BatStateU is one with Smart in leading and inspiring young Filipinos to create a better tomorrow as we lead innovations and transform lives,” he said.
Smart’s free WiFi directly impacts the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) identified by the United Nations which aims to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’
Better World campaign
This initiative is aligned with Smart's thrust in its "Live Smarter for a Better World" campaign, which elevates Smart's long-running community partnership programs and enables "personal revolutions" that inspire lasting positive change through connectivity and CSR initiatives.
The deployment of Smart WiFi is part of PLDT and Smart’s nationwide rollout and expansion of their integrated fixed wireless networks. To date, Smart’s wireless network, the fastest mobile network in the country according to third-party analytics firm Ookla, covers 96% of the Philippine population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.
Enabling these services is parent company PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country at over 524,000 kilometers as of end-June 2021.
Know more about PLDT and Smart’s network expansion and improvement efforts by following #LevelUpToSmart, #LevelUpToPLDT and #SmartWiFi on social media.