DICT to implement Philippines’ national broadband plan next year

The Philippines' Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will implement the national broadband plan (NBP) next year.
"By the end of this year, [maybe the plan] can be finalised and then implemented by next year," said DICT Undersecretary Denis F. Villorente, in a report by GMA News Online.
In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 25 July 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte said he ordered the DICT to develop a NBP to boost the deployment of fibre optic cables and wireless technologies in the country to improve internet speed.
In the same report, Villorente said the DICT plans to consult various stakeholders from the private sector - such as PLDT, and Globe Telecom - and government to get their inputs for the development of NBP, which is now in the last stages of finalisation.

Nokia to supply Globe Telecom in the Philippines

Nokia and Globe Telecom, a leading telecom operator in the Philippines, on 24 October signed two Memoranda of Confirmation frame agreements – one for wireless technologies and the other for IP, Optical and SDN technologies – under which Nokia will transform Globe Telecom’s current fixed and mobile networks into a more robust network that will help Globe meet the country’s burgeoning and future digital demands.

This will enable Globe Telecom’s move to Cloud and IoT-ready networks and 5G.

Under the agreements, Globe Telecom will transition to a flexible cloud-based network infrastructure, with Nokia’s 5G-ready AirScale radio access and IP, optical and carrier SDN technology solutions providing seamless connectivity to consumers and enterprise customers. The modernized Globe network will also allow it to support the Philippine government’s initiative to further expand the availability of broadband services in the country.

The mobile network frame agreement between Nokia and Globe Telecom follows the operator’s recent access to new LTE spectrum. Nokia will deploy its 4.5G Pro technology using the 5G-ready AirScale Base Station and Flexi Zone small cells, managed by NetAct, in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, providing broadband access to some areas in these regions for the first time. Globe will also be enabled to use Mobile Edge Computing and advanced carrier aggregation techniques to deliver virtually unlimited scalability and dramatic improvements in speeds and capacity that will deliver compelling new services. The technology will also enable lower power consumption, reduced operating costs, more network automation and enhanced network performance as it transforms Globe Telecom’s customer experience for a subscriber base growing at 10 percent annually, as well as meeting increasing demand from IoT devices.

In the second frame agreement, Nokia will deliver its integrated IP and optical networking and carrier SDN technologies across the Philippines to enhance the agility, quality, performance, coverage and capacity of Globe Telecom’s enterprise data services network. This will allow Globe to deliver coverage to more regions including in the ARMM, such as Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Using Nokia’s carrier SDN platform, Globe will also be able to provide flexible data services such as bandwidth-on-demand nationwide, and expand its offer to thousands of enterprise customers, global service providers and local government agencies as well as those serving the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO), hospitality, education, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, logistics and finance industries.

“As the Philippines’ leading fixed and mobile service provider, we are devoted to improving people’s connected lives day-by-day. With Nokia’s innovative technologies, we are confident to lead the 5G and cloud network evolution,” said Ernest L. Cu, president and CEO of Globe Telecom.

“This is a significant agreement with a longstanding technology partner, and strengthens Nokia’s position as Globe Telecom’s premier provider of end-to-end technology solutions. We are committed to delivering technologies that allow operators to transition smoothly to intelligent, future-proof networks, offering seamless connectivity and changing how people communicate and connect,” said Mike Wang, head of the joint management team in China at Nokia.

Globe CEO on Telstra: I'm not scared of ghosts

Globe Telecom, Incorporated has a message to Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra Corporation Limited: Sign the contract and we will play.

This is Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu's remarks on the possible entry of Telstra in 2016, in partnership with diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation.

"Once they sign, we'll talk; but right now there is no deal yet. I don’t get scared of ghosts," Cu said.

"Anyone who comes in is a threat. But I'm not going to react to a threat that's not real. Sign the contract and we’ll play," Cu told reporters on the sidelines of a product launch in Makati City on Wednesday night, November 5.

Telstra last month told the Australian Securities Exchange that it has set aside $1.5 billion in capital for mergers and acquisitions for the rest of 2015. The bulk of the capital, Telstra said, may reach the Philippines through a joint venture with San Miguel.

San Miguel President and COO Ramon S. Ang said the telco partnership will offer voice, text, and Internet services with focus on mobile-broadband services.

Ang even announced at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in October that his company will launch a third major telecommunications player in the country by 2016. (READ: Ramon Ang: We hope to open 3rd major telco by 2016)

Sought for comment, Cu said Globe will only include the possible entry of Telstra-San Miguel in its game plan once the deal is signed.

"They are priming the market. We've been working on our network for 13 years now. Do you think they can deliver on Day One?" Cu said.

He added that all Globe is doing now is what it has been doing best – continuing to gain market share and to maintain innovation in market.

"We have [the] formula that’s worked really well for us for the last 5 years," he added.

Meanwhile, Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), said it will take into account the possible entry of Telstra-San Miguel in its 2016 plan.

"We need to protect our market share for prepaid and postpaid. We'll feel it immediately but it depends on what their tactics (are). It's hard to speculate. But really, they wouldn’t come in without a fanfare. The novelty of a new player ... some people will be lured to try," Pangilinan said on November 3.

No savior

But for National Broadband Network (NBN)-ZTE deal whistleblower Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada, a new telco player like Telstra would not make much of a difference.

Lozada cited a report in May 2015 by Australia's Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman stating Telstra as the most complained telco firm in the country.

"Positioning themselves as the ’savior’ and ’third player’ that will solve the problem of slow Internet speed in the country has not easily swayed customers and stakeholders who are aware of Telstra’s own service delivery issues in Australia," Lozada said in a statement. (READ: New Internet speed minimum throwback to '90s?)

While improved service and increased competition will always benefit consumers, Lozada said the country needs NBN to solve slow Internet woes.

"We don’t have an NBN here in the Philippines which is likened to roads used to move people and goods around," he said.

A $329-million NBN project was previously awarded in 2007 to Chinese contractor, Zhing Xing Telecommunications Equipment Inc. (ZTE), but later rescinded by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after reports of massive irregularities surfaced. Lozada was named emissary or representative in the negotiations for the NBN project.

"We need these roads to move these goods freely to create trade. Prior to that, all the agricultural goods were moving freely. Now that we have an era where we're now trading digital goods, almost all of the roadways, and the path of digital goods are privately owned," Lozada added. – Rappler.com
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