Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. said Thursday said it signed an agreement with state-run National Transmission Corp. for the potential use of the government’s national fiber optic backbone facility.
PT&T, a publicly-listed company that aims to become the country’s third major telecom player, said that under the memorandum of understanding, the company and Transco would create a technical working group to firm up the preparation for the eventual use of dark (unused) fiber in the country’s network of transmission lines.
The TWG is meant to validate the technical feasibility study conducted by PT&T more than a year ago, which would give the company a head start in case it was awarded the third telco slot.
The technical feasibility study was presented to Transco board to demonstrate how PT&T could connect existing network of fiber optic cables or FOC to the power grid.
PT&T said utilizing the dark fiber in the grid would allow them to have a true national backbone that could rival those of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc.
It said that approaching Transco only after the awarding of the third telco slot would delay a potential mobile rollout by at least a year.
“The MOU puts us one critical step closer to having a national fiber optic backbone. We have begun looking at this from a technical standpoint more than a year ago, knowing that it would take time to develop a national/regional roll out plan that includes this backbone. This was before the third telco discussion began to take shape in November of last year,” PT&T chief operating officer Miguel Bitanga said.
“With the third telco bidding, all this means is we save on time should we be awarded and can effectively roll out this segment of a cellular network more quickly. Without cellular/third telco it gives our fixed broadband plans greater access to more areas nationwide,” he said.
PT&T said that leasing the Transco assets would save five to 10 years of construction time and capital expenditures versus building one on its own.
Meanwhile, the company said it was hopeful that the issues between Transco and the private sector-led National Grid Corp. of the Philippines about the country’s transmission assets would be resolved.
PT&T said it was open to discuss the issues with Department of Information and Communications Technology, Transco and NGCP, if necessary.
NGCP, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the country’s power transmission network, is comprised of the Sy family’s Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., Calaca High Power Corp. and State Grid Corp. of China as technical partner.