I’ve never depended on Meralco and Smart Bro as I am now. In the past, my life still goes on even if brownouts occur or Internet connections are off.
Whenever the power goes off, we can always turn to our gas burner or our Superkalan to cook our food. There is always the pamaypay or the shade of the mango tree to make one cool.
At work, as soon as the lights go out, the building’s generator automatically takes over. If a certain online connection gives out, another Internet provider takes over.
But now that I’m working at home researching and writing articles for U.S. clients after being laid off by a U.S.-owned company downed by the U.S. recession, my income now is dependent on Meralco and Smart Bro.
Unlike a company, I don’t have enough funds to subscribe to even just two of Smart Bro, Globe, PLDT, Sun, Bayantel or Sky at the same time so that when one gives out, I can always turn to the other provider.
I can’t also have an alternative to Meralco because I can’t afford to buy my own generator.
This makes me totally at the mercy of Meralco and Smart Bro.
What compounds my problem if these services give out is the reality that I live in a mountainous part of Muntinlupa. It is a beautiful area because it has retained its rural feel and people know and help each other.
But it is not conducive to home-based workers in relation to utilities. If either Meralco or Smart Bro gives out, we have to travel 10 kilometers to get to the nearest Internet cafe. If one doesn’t own a car, one has to endure over an hour of waiting for the public jeepney or AUV to get filled up with passengers before it starts its journey down the mountain.
Additionally, because our place is on the highest level of the city, our Meralco lines are prone to disruptions whenever heavy rains, storms or lightnings occur.
To be fair, both Meralco and Smart Bro have served me generally well in the past several months. But Meralco gets higher points from me because it has been quick in responding to disruptions even during nighttime. Since I started subscribing to Smart Bro last May 2008, the longest period I endured lack of Internet connection was 2 days.
This week is a record breaker for Smart Bro. Since Wednesday, we have not had stable connection. I had to go down the mountain every day and suffer the fees, chatter and inconveniences of an Internet cafe.
It’s now Saturday and the answer from the Smart Bro hotline officer is still the same: Your base station antenna has problems. What I couldn’t understand is why a big corporation like Smart cannot solve a problem related to an antenna on top of a simple school building for several days now.
To Smart Bro, and of course, Meralco: kindly understand that the work place in the Philippines has been changing fast. There are now thousands of Filipinos working at home using PCs and the Internet, as can be read on blogs, forums and ads for home-based workers.
You have committed to give Internet connection and electric power to us as we pay your services on time, kindly continue doing your end of the agreement so we can keep feeding our families on time.
Note: At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Smart Bro connection was finally restored, worked for an hour, then went off again. Before it got dark, Smart Bro finally worked.