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2K internet subscribers in Agusan del Sur await service restoration 

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 26 November) —  An estimated 2,000 subscribers of a major telecommunications company here whose internet service was disconnected on November 20 are still waiting for the service to be restored. 

The service interruption for some 2,000 subscribers of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) here affected  homes and offices along the national highway after the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ASELCO) implemented Task Force Operation Baklas or dismantling fiber optic cables attached to its 34-kilometer 69KV transmission lines. 

Floriano Abad Jr., head of technical operations at PLDT Butuan, said they were unaware of the dismantling until several subscribers visited their office to file complaints.

Some 40 representatives of telco firms, cable TV operators and local internet service providers met Thursday, 23 November 2023 at the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. to thresh out problems on dismantling of cables attached to electric posts. Photo courtesy of ASELCO FB page.

Speaking at a coordination meeting organized by ASELCO on Thursday afternoon, Abad acknowledged their inability to provide a fixed timeline for the restoration of internet connections due to the damage incurred by 34 local convergence point optic cables.

“I sympathize with the affected subscribers, and we admit that there was negligence on our part,” explained Abad, emphasizing that the restoration process would occur gradually, fixing the lines portion by portion.

Mimi Ramos, head of ASELCO’s paralegal office, explained that since 2021,  they had been urging telecommunication companies, cable TV operators, and local internet service providers (ISPs) to address issues related to their lines attached to ASELCO’s posts throughout the province.

Ramos clarified that they were unaware of PLDT’s fiber optic cables attached to the 69KV transmission lines posts until complaints from PLDT subscribers reached their office. She stressed that ASELCO did not specifically target PLDT.

Ramos noted that the PLDT’s contractor, Marstel Cable Services, had been informed about the start of dismantling operations but might have failed to relay the information to the PLDT office in Butuan.

ASELCO charges these companies P420 per post per attachment annually through a Joint Post Agreement (JPA). Ramos noted that some major telecommunications companies did not renew their rental agreements but continued to operate using ASELCO’s electric posts.

During the meeting, ASELCO disclosed that several local ISPs had attached their lines to electric posts without securing JPAs. 

In a press statement, ASELCO emphasized that many unauthorized connections by local operators would be dismantled as part of the task force’s clearing operations on the 13.2 KV posts.

Junel Ryan Denolo, chief of ASELCO’s Institutional Services Department, proposed implementing the previous agreement on tagging the ownership of cables attached to the posts as one potential solution. 

“We’ll explore solutions for this since ASELCO has been the target of these criticisms,” he said.  (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)

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