Fiber optic project seen to boost net connectivity in Mindanao

DAVAO CTY (MindaNews/05 August) — A fiber optic cable that is seen to boost internet connectivity in Mindanao is set for groundbreaking early next year, an official announced.

In a press briefing at the Cafe Demitasse on Wednesday, National Telecommunications Commission IX regional director Edgardo Celorico said the head-end of the fiber optic project dubbed “Best Cable System” will be located in Parang, Maguindanao, tapping the submarine cable connecting Tawau, Malaysia and Guam.

Brunei and Malaysia have already been connected through a terrestrial structure.

The project aims to make internet speed on the island faster and lower down the cost by at least 30 percent.

At present, Mindanao is served by giant telephone companies such as Globe Telecom and Smart Communications to Luzon, which resulted in high cost of internet and slower speed due to proximity.

The target completion for this project will be in 2017. It will initially service the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and later cover the entire island.

The head-end facility of the submarine cable will be in Parang, as the project’s proponent in the Philippines EA Trilink Corp. got the franchise from the ARMM, which explains why the additional bandwidth of 1 terabyte that this project will provide will be exclusive to Mindanao.

“The ICT is already an enabler in other countries. This is not a very big investment as compared to airport in order to connect Mindanao to the rest of the world,” Celorico said.

Celorico, who heads the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) ICT cluster, considered the cable system project critical to the success of the sub-region, by linking them up together through better internet connectivity, and eventually to the world.

This development will also position the province as the next Business Process Outsourcing hub of the Philippines, according to Lawyer Samuel Matunog, president of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Davao Inc.

He considered the project as the peace dividend from the government and the private sector to the province long disturbed by the armed conflict between the government and Moro rebels.

ICT Davao vice president Lizabel Holganza said the challenge now for the ARMM is to develop local talents and improve security so as to attract investors to the region.

Lowering down the cost of internet will develop the small and medium enterprises in the long run, she said.

The Best Cable System will be inaugurated during the Livelihood Exchange (LIVEX) 2015 at the SMX Convention Center Davao from August 18 to 21, 2015.

Celorico and Matunog signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday for the holding of the four-day LIVEX 2015.

The BIMP-EAGA ICT Cluster and Chief Executive Officers Forum is a regular inter-governmental conference to initiate and assess the ICT projects within the region.

Holganza previously said the Philippines will share proposed projects that can be adapted in other countries within the subregion. These include building a better internet infrastructure that suits the geographical location, electronic commerce platform, and talent development. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)