Converge seeks to rescue PH-US undersea cable with $200-M plan | Inquirer Business
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SUBMARINE SYSTEM VICTIM OF US-CHINA TRADE WAR

Converge seeks to rescue PH-US undersea cable with $200-M plan

/ 05:12 AM December 16, 2021

Fiber internet giant Converge ICT Solutions Inc. has submitted plans to the US Federal Communications Commission to invest about $200 million in a completed submarine cable system to boost internet capacity between the United States and the Philippines.

Converge CEO and cofounder Dennis Anthony Uy said on Wednesday the investment would allow the company to meet future internet demand and help transform the country into a regional technology hub.

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“The Philippines is the best location, it’s in the middle of Asia,” Uy explained.

He said Converge hoped to “rescue” the undersea internet cable, which he did not name but suggested was among those that were stalled by US-China trade war.

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In terms of capacity, he said the cable would be three times larger than the Bifrost Cable System, a 15,000-kilometer project from Singapore to the North American West Coast, including a branch to Davao.

Converge earlier said it would invest $100 million in the Bifrost project, giving it access to a full fiber pair equivalent to up to 15 terabits per second (Tbps) of internet capacity when it comes online in 2024.

The company, a domestic leader in the home fiber segment, is ramping up investments in overseas cable systems as it accelerates its nationwide broadband rollout.

On Wednesday, Converge announced the completion of its “Mindanao redundancy loop” to protect against network outages and a separate plan to invest in a data center in Davao.

The newly completed segment connects the cable landing point in Cagayan de Oro with Buenavista, forming a network ring that passes through key areas in Mindanao such as Tagum, Davao and Valencia.

“With the redundancy ring completed, we’re significantly reducing the chances of service outages since we now have an alternative network route in place. The whole Philippine digital highway is now strongly protected against cable breaks,” Uy said in a statement.

Miles Tonn Chua, president and chief operating officer of Converge’s infrastructure arm, Metroworks ICT Construction Inc., explained Mindanao was being served by two backbone legs for greater redundancy.

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Converge entered the Mindanao market last April and the company has since laid down over 100,000 lines in Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

Its rollout in new areas helped push up home subscribers to 1.6 million as of end of September this year, roughly double the figure versus the same period in 2020.

—Miguel R. Camus
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