MANILA, Philippines, Dec. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded a grant to Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) for training to advance Smart’s plan to expand 5G services to 96 percent of the country’s population. USTDA made the award to support Smart’s investment in equipment and services from Cisco Systems, Inc.
"This grant demonstrates USTDA’s commitment to supporting cutting-edge information and communications technology infrastructure in the Philippines, while promoting innovative solutions from U.S. companies," said Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally (ret.), USTDA’s Acting Director. "We are proud to partner with Smart and Cisco on this project, which will strengthen digital connectivity and bring faster, higher quality, and more affordable digital services to the people of the Philippines."
USTDA’s training grant will help Smart, a subsidiary of the Philippines’ largest, fully integrated telecommunications company PLDT Inc., deliver better cloud-based products and services to its customers across the Philippines. This grant builds on previous USTDA assistance that is advancing PLDT and Smart’s efforts to modernize the company’s national fiberoptic network and prepare the Philippines for the transition to 5G.
"We are excited to witness the continuous development of the Philippines’ digital infrastructure through projects such as this one," said Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava. "Many Filipinos will benefit from the increased range of Smart’s services, which will reach more unserved and underserved areas in the country. The United States continues to work with its partners to ensure secure and reliable digital connectivity for Filipinos."
"We are grateful to USTDA for their training assistance in this undertaking between Smart and Cisco. A well-trained technical team is vital to the success of our overall digital transformation, which will enable us to elevate the experience of our customers," said Al S. Panlilio, President and CEO of PLDT and Smart Communications. "Our people must be trained and prepared to make full use of the power of these transformative new technologies."