Converge ICT to develop $2-billion Internet backbone with partners

INTERNET services provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. has partnered with several local and foreign companies to develop a $2-billion nationwide backbone that can reach roughly 13 million homes across the Philippines.

Under its strategic partnership deals with Korea Telecoms, LSI-Fibernet Konstruk Corp., and TE Connectivity Subcom, Converge will develop over 2,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables throughout Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Converge President Dennis Anthony H. Uy said the investment represents his group’s intention to capture part of the broadband market in the Philippines, which is still highly underpenetrated.

“Imagine the home penetration rate is not even at 15 percent,” he said in an interview. “We need to focus on building a national highway to be able to deliver fixed broadband to our deprived customers.”

Uy noted his group’s expertise and its partners’ industry credentials and financial muscle will help in building an Internet that he deemed as a “catalyst for social and economic progress.”

“We have set our sights to bring the best Internet connectivity by starting in Metro Manila and some key provinces in Luzon. By going nationwide, we can do more rollouts and more installations in other islands in the Philippines, helping more people connect with one another through our infrastructure,” he said.

The initial plan is to create a 2,700-kilometer fiber-optic digital highway in Southern Luzon, about 600 kilometers in Visayas, and another 900 kilometers in Mindanao.

The national broadband highway, Uy said, will be commercially available by 2021.

“The challenge here is the preparation of the detailed design and right-of-way. All these should be addressed,” he said.

MetroWorks ICT Construction Inc. COO Miles Tonn C. Chua said the $2-billion investment, spread over five years, will have the “potential to reach more than 13 million of the 22 million households nationwide, particularly the major islands situated in Visayas and Mindanao.”

“With more projects to be completed, it will certainly contribute to the growth of Converge, which is expected to be exponential,” Chua said.

The company, he added, is on a search for more partnerships to further improve its service offerings.

“What the public is experiencing now is the best Internet service. They can also expect that same kind in the next year or two,” Chua said.

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Sources regularly see Lorenz at telco and transport conferences. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, and has been covering the beat since 2013. He likes to featurize stories, and tries to find another angle for spot news. He travels during his spare time, and likes his coffee black -- no cream, no sugar.

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