Philippine telco and broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions has inked a deal that will see it tap into the Bifrost Cable System, a new 15,000km subsea internet cable system linking Singapore to North America via Indonesia.
In March, Singapore's Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation subsidiary Keppel Midgard Holdings, along with subsidiaries of Facebook and Telkom Indonesia announced they had struck a deal to jointly build and own the subsea network.
Expected to be completed in 2024, the Bifrost Cable System is planned to connect Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Guam and the west coast of North America.
Now, Converge has signed a binding term sheet with the Keppel T&T subsidiary undertaking the build to grant the Philippine broadband provider an ‘Indefeasible Right of Use’ (IRU) for one fibre pair on the main trunk of Bifrost Cable System.
The deal will see Keppel Midgard Holdings and Converge jointly develop a branch on the Bifrost Cable System that will land in Davao, the Philippines, with the telco and broadband provider also being granted an IRU on the entire Davao branch. Converge will be engaged as the landing party for the Davao branch segment.
Converge will invest over US$100 million, or around PHP5 billion, for the whole project. The additional branch is expected to significantly increase internet speeds and network diversity for businesses and consumers in the Philippines.
“This is an important milestone not just for Converge but also for the Philippines as we expect to experience faster internet speeds and greater resiliency within our fast-growing fibre network with the completion of this project,” said Dennis Anthony Uy, CEO of Converge.
“Our investment into one full fibre pair, connecting us to Singapore and the west coast of North America, will allow us to independently activate at will up to 15Tbps of capacity to either country using the latest technology.
“Furthermore, our ongoing construction of our national backbone spanning the whole country will allow Converge to distribute this capacity from Davao to any point in the Philippines. We look forward to a continued strong collaboration with Keppel to bring our countries closer together and further enhance the connection of the region to the rest of the world,” he added.
Completion of the proposed transaction with Converge remains subject to negotiation and execution of definitive agreements, and relevant regulatory approvals.
It is claimed by the companies behind the new subsea transmission cable that it will be the world’s first such cable system that directly connects Singapore to the west coast of North America via Indonesia through the Java Sea and Celebes Sea.
According to Keppel T&T CEO Thomas Pang, the new cable system represents a significant step towards the strengthening and broadening of the company’s connectivity platform by building a new adjacent and complementary business to its data centre business.
“We are happy to collaborate with our consortium partners, Facebook and Telin, for the Bifrost Cable System project as this will be a transnational critical infrastructure which will enhance Singapore’s role as a digital hub, as well as support and accelerate the region’s growing digital connectivity needs,” Pang said.