Telcos double down on fiber rollout as demand, competition pick up
Industry giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom are accelerating the rollout of fiber internet across the country, spurred by surging demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and the entry of competition.
The companies are laying down new fiber cables without additional charges to customers.
Globe Telecom said its fiber rollout in August alone went up over 50 percent versus 2019.
The company is ramping up the installation of fiber after focusing on mobile for years, helping cement its lead in the wireless segment.
Globe said it added fiber lines across Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, Cebu and Davao del Sur.
“The ramp up of fiberization efforts will be done progressively until 2021,” Globe said.
PLDT has a wider fiber optic network now spanning 360,000 kilometers.
Apart from expansion, it is shifting customers on copper lines to fiber over the next 18 months.
Unlike copper, fiber delivers data at higher bandwidths, resulting in faster internet speeds.
Fiber connectivity, used to connect homes and businesses, is also a crucial prerequisite as the telcos switch on fifth-generation mobile services.
“With this modernization program, PLDT sets out to reinforce the drive to install new fiber connections and meet the ever-increasing demand for high-speed internet access for more homes and businesses,” PLDT chief revenue officer Al Panlilio said in a statement.
“It is an essential need, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The incumbent telcos are upgrading their fixed networks as rival Converge ICT Solutions Inc., a fiber internet company, gains market share.
Converge ICT, which is launching a P41.5-billion initial public offering this month, will use part of those proceeds to complete a nationwide internet backbone, allowing it to serve customers across the Philippines.
Converge wants wider coverage in this segment, which remains underserved with a penetration rate of just 7 percent as of end-2019.
Dito Telecommunity, a company backed by China Telecom, is also rolling out fiber and mobile services. It aims to launch commercial services by March next year.
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