Lito Mapolon, head of Core Network and Engineering at SKY Cable Corporation, worked first in academe and then in manufacturing before finding his true joy in the cable TV industry.
He started in 1994 as a oneman team designing cable systems for Country Communications Network Inc. (CCNI), a CATV (community antenna television) service that was acquired by SKY the following year. From that first assignment, he learned independence and resourcefulness, which is something he now tries to model to his team of 160.
“CCNI was a small operator, yet we were expected to deliver what the customer required. In SKY, you could say we have more resources, but in reality, they are still limited compared to the volume of deliverables and client expectations, especially now that SKYdirect and broadband coverage are expanding. The initial reaction would be to think we can’t do it (on tight resources), so my first struggle is to convince the team that we can. I challenge them as engineers. We know that engineering is about effectiveness and efficiency,” says Mapolon who is himself a professional electronics and communications engineer.
He was part of SKY’s digital deployment when SKY first switched to digital pay TV from the “problematic” analog system. His team was also instrumental in SKY’s becoming the first to commercially offer ultra-high-speed broadband in the country at 200 mbps.
As he logs his 25th year of service this year, Mapolon’s biggest challenge is working in a totally new environment “in terms of technology, the way you deploy, how our customers appreciate our offerings, even in the approach.” He calls it the “never-ending change” and says it is “a consequence of being in the forefront of technology.”
He copes through diskarte (strategizing) and continuous learning. “To overcome challenges, we have to study and analyze the conditions. If it’s technical, there are very few modules that are immediately available, except from vendors, which are usually biased for the technology they are selling. Fortunately, there is now the internet and materials from experts with experience in certain systems we want to study,” he says.
Mapolon wants SKY to remain as the best pay TV provider in the country and hopes that with SKYdirect in growth mode, SKY will regain dominance in local pay TV. “I want to see SKY overtake the competition and to continuously dominate.” He also aspires for SKY to be the preferred internet service provider.
It was Mapolon and his team that provided the technical study that supported the application of SKYdirect for the necessary permits from the National Telecommunications Commission.
“We had to justify that we were technically competent to build and operate a DTH (direct-to-home) service. In fact, we were able to launch and operate almost immediately after the release of the permits.” The team is now tasked to operate and maintain the SKYdirect system in addition to the SKYcable system. Another ongoing major initiative is expanding the reach of SKY's internet service. Mapolon assures that the team is committed to “the delivery of reliable service and execution of the planned capacity and coverage growth.”
Among the Lopez Values, Mapolon says nationalism and business excellence resonate with him.
Source of pride
“SKY allowed me to personally serve (our countrymen) even if I did not enter public life. I feel the joy of reaching out to fellow Filipinos through the services we provide, to uplift their quality of life. This is aligned with my personal aspirations to be of service. As for business excellence, I believe we have a contribution from technology toward business excellence. It is a source of pride when we apply technology firsthand so that we can be at par with, if not ahead of, competitors who have much bigger resources.”
Mapolon encourages “LopezLink” readers to dig deeper into the reason they are able to read and access “LopezLink.”
“It’s not because it’s free, or we picked up a copy somewhere, it’s because we are part of the Lopez Group. And the Lopez Group companies are not employers only. This organization, our organization has a mission and if we dig deep internally, we know we are aligned with its mission. We know we are here because we are personally satisfied that there is alignment between the corporate mission and our personal joy.” (Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison)