Filtered By: Money

Globe, Smart building cable landing sites as full capacity seen in the next few years

Incumbent telecommunications companies are now speeding up efforts to put up new cable landing sites with at least four in the works, as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said full capacity may be reached in the next three years.

In a Senate hearing on Wednesday, NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that the current landing sites still have capacity, but maybe fully utilized in the coming years given the continuous increase in traffic.

"There is still capacity but because traffic is increasing every year, the estimate of around five years may (not be that long). It may just take three years and all of these will be consumed," he explained.

He was referring to the cable landing stations in the Philippines, which link the country to overseas connections through submarine cables.

At present, seven of the Philippines' cable landing stations are operated by the local telecommunications companies.

Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc. currently has three cable landing stations -- one each in Ballesteros, Cagayan; Nasugbu, Batangas; and Davao.

"It's our business model that 80% of which should have been capacitized and we're thinking now that in a couple of years, we may be reaching that maximum so right now we're thinking of building another one and that's still in the planning stage," Froilan Castelo, Globe general counsel, said during the hearing.

"We'll be planning to have that fourth international landing cable station in a very immediate time. Right now we are finding a location for that fourth station," he added.

Castelo estimated that the company's landing stations may reach full capacity in the next five to seven years, as he noted that building a new one is capital intensive.

"To build a landing station, the landing station itself is easy to build because it is just a manhole and maybe just an ordinary building, but it's the laying of the submarine cable and landing into the Philippines that will be the most challenging and difficult," he said.

He estimated that the laying of submarine cables usually takes about a year to one-and-a-half.

Meanwhile, Smart Communications Inc. is currently operating four landing stations -- one each in Batangas, Cavite, La Union, and Daet.

"What I know is that we still have capacity available, although currently because of the pandemic, the load really increased," said Smart vice president for legal and regulatory affairs Roy Cecil Ibay.

Ibay said the company is now working to build three more stations in the next three years, named the Jupiter, the ADC, and the Apricot projects.

"For the first one, on the Jupiter Landing Station, we might request... the project might be initiated by middle next year and then for the ADC Landing Station, this might be by 2022 and then for the Apricot, this might be for 2023," he said.—AOL, GMA News