NGCP reaches deal with DICT on use of fiber cable network
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines yesterday clarified it was not vying to become the country’s third telecommunications service provider, but that it has finally reached a “mutual decision” with the government for the use of its fiber optic cable network.
Currently, NGCP’s fiber optics infrastructure, borne by the nationwide transmission grid that the company maintains and operates, is being used for internal purposes only.
“NGCP and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have reached a mutual decision on its way forward in relation to NGCP’s fiber optic capacity available for the use of third parties in the implementation of the National Broadband Program (NBP),” the company said in a statement.
The power grid operator said that after a meeting earlier this week with its president and chief executive Henry Sy Jr., DICT officer in charge and undersecretary Eliseo Rio “committed to partner with NGCP” on the use of transmission facilities as backbone for the NBP for the duration of the latter’s concession.
In 2017, NGCP won a 25-year contract—until 2034 or with about 16 years remaining—with the state-owned National Transmission Corp. (Transco) to operate and maintain the country’s power transmission network.
Earlier, NGCP had lamented that it had been so many months since it has offered to DICT the use—“at no cost”—of the so-called dark fiber for telecommunications purposes, particularly the government’s NBP, which is intended to link up government agencies.
The matter has bogged down after Transco insisted that it should be assured participation in any such undertaking, arguing that it was the owner of the transmission facilities.
For its part, NGCP said earlier this month it could not “afford to be mired in dealing with unnecessary parties,” referring to Transco.
“When the government privatized the transmission network, all rights over the assets, except title, were turned over to NGCP as concessionaire,” the company said. “There is really nothing they can contribute to this apart from delay.”
Yesterday, NGCP reiterated that it would enter into an agreement with the DICT up to the life its concession, provided that in the event that the concession were extended, the bilateral agreement will also be extended.”
“NGCP will not object to any separate agreement DICT signs with Transco for so long as the exclusive rights of the company in relation to transmission and related businesses, for the entire duration of its concession are upheld,” NGCP added.
“We are not interested in entering the telecommunications business,” NGCP said. “The lease of available fiber optic capacity is specifically allowed under our concession as a “related business to maximize the utilization of its assets.”
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