Cebu barangays, SMEs to benefit in telco firm fiber expansion

Cebu barangays, SMEs to benefit in telco firm fiber expansion

CEBU CITY – Telecommunications firm Converge ICT Solutions Inc. is seeing a boost in fiber connection in Cebu barangays as it sets its sights on the small and medium enterprise (SME) market for its expansion program.

“We’ve already hit the ground running when we had our soft launch in Cebu last November. Considering that we’ve only been operating in Mandaue and Cebu cities on a limited basis, we’ve already signed on thousands of subscribers and established partnerships with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and enterprise clients,” Converge chief executive officer and co-founder Dennis Anthony Uy said at the grand opening of the firm’s regional corporate office and business center in Mandaue City on Monday.

Converge chief operations officer Jesus Romero said the telecommunication’s fiber backbone in the region has been firmed up, as it sees more consumers demand for better connection.

“With Converge’s fiber optic cables having already landed in Cebu last April, and with three landing points in the island -in San Remigio, Bogo, and Naga- our domestic fiber backbone is firmed up and ready to take on the pent-up demand for fiber connection in central Philippines,” Romero said.

Since Converge’s soft launch in Cebu last November, it has already covered more than 440,000 households, spanning 48 cities and municipalities, and more than a thousand barangays.

Converge’s expansion in the Visayas bodes well with the National Broadband Program (NBP) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which aims to deploy broadband capacity across the nation, especially in areas that are remote, inaccessible, and considered unprofitable by the private sector.

Having a solid telecommunication infrastructure is crucial to progress especially as the pandemic made online communications a new norm and the demand for fiber internet to rise.

Under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the NBP was set in motion via funding support. A nearly PHP2-billion budget for the 2021 NBP aims to accelerate the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, seen to bridge the digital divide in the Philippines.

Romero said the Pampanga-based telecommunication firm’s entry to Cebu and the Visayas region is all part of its broader “Go National strategy” which is essentially its nationwide expansion plan.

In the next few weeks, Uy said the company is also set to open its business center in Cebu City, as well as begin serving Talisay, Cordova, and Lapu-Lapu City in one of the most developed provinces in the country.

After Cebu, Converge said it also aims to cover Davao, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, and Cagayan De Oro. Its goal is to reach 55 percent of the country’s residential homes by 2025.

Company president and co-founder Grace Uy cited the promising strong subscriber take-up in Cebu, an indication of consumer clamor for better telco services.

“And we expect a groundswell in subscriptions as we target commercial operations in the other areas in the next two months,” she said.

The fiber internet services provider marked its entry in the Visayas with the official opening of its first business center and regional corporate office at the Oakridge IT Center Tower 2, Oakridge Business Park in the bustling Mandaue City.

The official launch ceremony was graced by Cebu business leaders including the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Steven Yu and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Felix Taguiam.

For 2021, Converge is targeting to deploy at least 250,000 fiber ports in Visayas.

Since the pandemic started, Converge has recorded a jump in subscriptions, giving it an opportunity to rival the well-entrenched telco firms in the market.

The company had said its expansion in Visayas and Mindanao includes 1,800 kilometers of submarine sea cables, connecting over 20 landing stations across the country.

The company has earmarked PHP20-billion capital expenditure for expansion works, digitalization, and other expenses this year. (PNA)

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