Converge investing $100 million in trans-Pacific cable system

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - May 29, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Converge ICT Solutions Inc. has entered into definitive agreements with Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation for the participation of the local fiber broadband provider in the Bifrost Cable System project which will directly connect Singapore to the west coast of North America.

Converge said the agreements signed last Tuesday provide for the grant of an indefeasible right of use to the company for one fiber pair on the main trunk of the 15,000-kilometer subsea cable system.

Keppel T&T wholly-owned subsidiary Keppel Midgard Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Converge will also jointly develop a branch on the Bifrost Cable System that will land in Davao.

Construction of the Davao branch is subject to the relevant regulatory permits and licenses being obtained.

Converge, which will be granted an indefeasible right of use on the entire Davao branch,  will also be appointed as the landing party for the Davao branch segment.

Converge said it would be investing over $100 million or around P5 billion for the whole project.

“The additional Davao branch for the Bifrost Cable System will significantly increase internet speeds and network diversity for businesses and consumers in the Philippines for a better digital experience. Our investment in this cable system also gives us two direct international links, one going to Singapore and the other one going to North America, with a design capacity of up to 15 Tbps in each direction,” Converge CEO Dennis Anthony Uy said.

The Bifrost Cable System is the world’s first subsea cable system that directly connects Singapore to the west coast of North America via Indonesia through the Java Sea and Celebes Sea, connecting Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Guam, and the west coast of North America.

It spans over 15,000 kilometers and is targeted for completion by 2024.

Once completed, the subsea cable system will boost the connectivity of the region’s governments and businesses, including cloud operators, telecommunications operators, network providers, over-the-top providers, data centers, governments, enterprises, and consumers by offering them competitive pricing and capacity resilience.

“We are pleased to strengthen our relationship with Converge through our collaboration on this significant transnational infrastructure project. The Bifrost Cable System will enable greater ASEAN inter-connectivity, as well as greater connectivity between Southeast Asia and the west coast of North America, bringing significant benefits to the region’s governments, businesses and consumers,” Keppel T&T CEO Thomas Pang said.

Converge has earmarked P20 billion for capital expenditures this year which will be used for the expansion of its backbone and the deployment of additional fiber-to-the-home ports to reach approximately 35 percent of household in the country by December.

As the company achieves nationwide expansion by the end of the year, Converge is eyeing to reach 55 percent of Filipino households by 2025.

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