Converge ICT earmarks $1.8b to fiber up the Philippines

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MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine broadband services provider Converge ICT Solutions said on Wednesday it would invest $1.8 billion over the next five years for a nationwide rollout of fast and cheap fiber internet, partnering with South Korea’s KT Corp and US firm TE Connectivity Ltd.

Converge plans to reach out to more than 13 million of the country’s 22 million households, particularly in the major islands in central and southern Philippines.

KT Corp and TE Connectivity will be involved in providing equipment and building infrastructure, Converge President Dennis Uy told reporters.

“We bring them here in the Philippines to assist us to roll out and to construct faster,” he said.

The sector is still underdeveloped in the Philippines, where fixed-line services are notoriously expensive and slower than other countries in the region. Many Filipinos access internet via data services provided by a telecoms duopoly.

Converge posted 5 billion pesos ($94.25 million) in revenue last year, driven by its roughly 200,000 subscribers, Uy said.

The Philippines ranked 88th in a list of 133 countries in terms of download speed for fixed broadband at 17.3 megabits per second in July, data from the Speedtest Global Index showed.

($1 = 53.0520 Philippine pesos)

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty and Subhranshu Sahu)

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