By Ron Chen, Senior Correspondent, ASEAN Region
Leading Philippine digital solutions platform Globe, premier telecommunications and ICT solutions provider Eastern Communications, and growing telecommunications and digital solutions provider InfiniVAN marked a milestone on Thursday, July 14, as they kickstarted the deployment of fiber cables to build the country’s longest submarine fiber cable network.
The US$150-million Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN), a joint project among the three companies, aims to improve both mobile and broadband connectivity and fiberize previously unserved areas across the country’s three main island groups.
In ceremonies at Subic Bay in Zambales, executives of Globe, Eastern Communications, InfiniVAN, and Japanese vendor partner Kokusai Cable Ship Co. Ltd. (KCS), gave a simple sendoff to state-of-the-art ship Cable Infinity, the “number one high-technology cable ship in the world,” according to KCS.
The ship will ferry cables, manufactured by global fiber optic cable maker Nexans, that will cover the PDSCN, which has a total cable distance of roughly 2,500 kilometers or about the same distance between Manila and Singapore. It will be landing at several points across the country, including Sorsogon, Masbate, Marinduque, Camiguin, Siargao, Boracay, and Zamboanga, for undersea laying in 24 segments over the next 9 months.
“We persevered and we’re now almost there. This is the start of the cable laying. This is really exciting, it’s such a beautiful milestone. May we always keep the connections strong,” said Vice President for Strategic Infrastructure Investments for Globe Business, Enterprise Group, Arlene Jallorina.
“We know there may be other challenges along the way. We hope we’ll be able to work through them quickly and very much solidly as a group. We are doing this so that our customers will get equitable access to connectivity, wherever they may be in the country,” said Jallorina at the kickoff event.
Eastern Communications Co-coordinator Vince Tempongko cited the importance of the joint effort to boost life-enabling connectivity across the country.
“What we are doing is not just for Globe, Eastern, or InfiniVAN but for the Filipino people. Providing equitable access to mobile and internet connection in all parts of the country has been our dream, and through this cooperation, we are finally at the cusp of realizing this goal,” Tempongko said.
Eastern Communications Co-coordinator Atty. Aileen Regio shared the many benefits this brings to the Filipino people.
“We are very much hopeful that this project can be the answer that will open doors to great outcomes, solve the many challenges we are facing and be bigger than it already is,” she said.
InfiniVAN Chief Technology Officer Alberto “Abet” Espedido expressed gratitude to the companies and the working team. Together, Globe, Eastern Communications, and InfiniVAN took the crucial first step towards laying the cables after two years of planning and coordination.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their perseverance, professionalism, experience and patience, we were able to get through all the challenges. And now we are finally starting this project to bring much needed connectivity all over the country,” he said.
Segments for the submarine cable network are expected to be completed by April 2023, and fiber connections will be activated thereafter.
PDSCN is in line with the common goal of Globe, Eastern Communications, and InfiniVAN to expand their coverage across the Philippines to better serve their customers.