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The Philippines Ramps Up Fibre Rollout to Better Connectivity

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In anticipation of continued strong demand for fibre connectivity following the pandemic, a leading Philippine telecommunications company expects robust competition among players in the home broadband segment to intensify further. Fibre connectivity is now on par with water and electricity in terms of household relevance, according to the company’s Vice President and head of broadband business.

As demand for high-speed internet grows due to rapid digital adoption, local telcos are doubling down on efforts to lay down fibre connectivity across the country. The company itself has already assembled one million fibre optic cables in homes ahead of schedule this year.

Against this backdrop, the telecom company recently launched a second subsidiary with the aim of assisting telecommunications providers in accelerating their fibre rollouts across the country. The Fibre Infrastructure and Network service is the newest member of the telecom provider’s group.

The company’s goal is to support the country achieve greater connectivity by becoming the first-ever homegrown engineering services provider, assisting major telcos in the country in the construction of fibre infrastructure. It will provide end-to-end services and industry-specific solutions to telco companies, towers, and infrastructure and technology, including construction, building, installation and maintenance, under a licence from the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board.

“We are on a mission to accelerate the Philippines into a connected nation, using innovative, cutting-edge technologies and world-class local expertise,” said the General Manager of the new infrastructure service group.

In addition, the telecommunications company has shifted its primary business to become a digital solutions group. It contributes to the development of a strong digital ecosystem for Filipinos by expanding on its existing presence in fintech, healthcare, entertainment, ad tech, e-commerce, IT services, and venture capital. This year, the company plans to add one million fibre lines to its network and migrate 60% of eligible customers to fibre. The P70 billion capital expenditures budget for this year will be used to fund the expansion.

OpenGov Asia reported that three months after an order issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) allowing telecom companies to construct infrastructure projects within the allowable right-of-way limits of national roads, the Philippines’ internet provider saw an improvement in its efforts to fibrise more homes and businesses.

The order has bolstered the company’s bid to extend fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) lines to more households in strategic areas across the country. Since the third week of March this year, the internet provider has been able to install FTTH lines, which are supplemented by 96 DWPH permits. The right-of-way order also enabled fiberisation to support Mobile Builds from 39 DPWH permits.

“The support of DPWH, and the government in general, will allow us to decongest demand for internet connectivity in the highly-urbanised areas in the country. This will help us fast-track laying out our fibre cables to more households that are now more dependent on having reliable, fast, and accessible internet,” said the company’s Vice President for Programme Delivery, Network Technical Group.

The new Department Order No. 29, also known as the “DPWH Policy on Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure according to Republic Act (RA) No. 11494,” relaxes previous right-of-way prohibitions, particularly on the construction of posts, by allowing excavations and restoration work for ICT infrastructure projects along with allowable right-of-way limits of national roads and highways. With the removal of such a major bottleneck, the company anticipates that site inspection and approval will be completed in a matter of days, rather than several weeks or even months in the past.

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