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PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are partnering with the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST) in providing connectivity solutions for its campuses, widening their support for universities in North Luzon. 

Under this partnership, PLDT and Smart have deployed fast and reliable Smart WiFi in NEUST's Sumacab Main Campus in Cabanatuan City, and rolling out further in NEUST's PeƱaranda, San Isidro, Talavera and General Tinio campuses. 

Smart has also fired up Smart Infocast, a web-based text broadcast facility, as well as turned over Smart Bro Pocket WiFi units in connection with the Smart Study Program at NEUST. 

NEUST is also set to host TNT Tropang Saya in August, where 40 students will be chosen to become Ambassadors and receive GIGA Study subsidies. 

Meanwhile, PLDT is also powering NEUST's academic offices and is set to upgrade the bandwidth across all campuses. 

"The university's mission is to transform communities through science and technology, and access to high-quality and reliable connectivity will definitely help us accomplish this," said NEUST President Dr Feliciana Jacoba, who led the virtual ceremonies attended by PLDT and Smart representatives led by Smart FVP and Regional Head – Consumer Sales Group John Y. Palanca, PLDT Enterprise AVP and Corporate Relationship Management Head Dennis G. Magbatoc and Pedro Luis de Guzman, Head of Community Solutions and Business Development at Smart. 

"Free wifi will give our students, teachers, and academic personnel the opportunity to enjoy the country's widest and fastest network. This is part of our unending assistance to our stakeholders, especially during these challenging times," she added.

She said, "I'd like to call on our students to please use this opportunity to enrich your knowledge, do your research, accomplish your academic endeavors. This project is for you." In addition, NEUST also hopes to connect more of their students, including those in far-flung areas. 

"We share the vision of NEUST and its president, Dr Feliciana Jacoba, in driving excellence, innovation, and hyper-collaboration in all levels of the University, powered by the ideals that NEUST stands for: Nationalism, Excellence, Unity, Spirituality and Transparency. We are proud to partner with NEUST in guiding the next generation in building a Better World for all," Palanca said. 

Emphasizing the importance of transformational education through science and technology, PLDT First Vice President Vic Y. Tria said PLDT is ready to provide connectivity and digital solutions and help bring their benefits closer to NEUST and its communities. "It is important at this stage of economic recovery that a fast, resilient and secure network is available for NEUST to continue its operations and bring value to the communities it serves," he said, adding that as PLDT and Smart continue their network expansion in Nueva Ecija, they are also rolling out Smart Barangay Connect in Cabanatuan City. 

"As we reach more universities in North Luzon, NEUST is at the forefront of providing a better Internet experience to their students, faculty and administration members, as we provide the fastest fiber-powered free WiFi to the different campuses of the University," de Guzman said. "We believe that public WiFi helps ensure a better-connected society and a more advanced and informed student body. It helps everyone connect, collaborate and learn beyond the classroom's walls." 

These efforts are 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. 

Smart's Barangay Connect project, which aims to provide free WiFi to barangays and bring connectivity closer to communities, will soon be rolled out in key areas around the country, starting with Antipolo, Mandaluyong, Las Pinas, General Santos, and Nueva Ecija. 

The deployment of Smart WiFi is part of PLDT and Smart’s nationwide rollout and expansion of their integrated fixed and 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 478,000 kilometers as of end-March 2021. 

PLDT and Smart’s relentless push to provide connectivity for all is aligned with the group’s long-standing commitment to help the Philippines attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.