Converge investing P5B in Trans-Pacific cable system

Published April 21, 2021, 11:20 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Local fiber broadband provider Converge Information & Communications Technology Solutions, Inc. (Converge) is investing $100 million (around P5 billion) into the Bifrost Cable System, in a partnership with Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation’s (Keppel T&T), wholly-owned subsidiary, Keppel Midgard Holdings Pte. Ltd. (KMH).

Keppel T&T just signed a binding term sheet allowing Converge to use the Bifrost Cable System linking Singapore and North America and develop a branch to Davao.

Specifically, Keppel T&T will grant Converge an Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) for one fibre pair on the main trunk of thr Bifrost Cable System.

In addition, KMH and Converge will jointly develop a branch on the Bifrost Cable System that will land in Davao.

Converge will likewise be granted an IRU on the entire Davao branch to boost internet speeds and network diversity for local businesses and consumers.

To be jointly owned and developed with Keppel T&T’s partners, the Bifrost Cable System, will be the largest capacity high-speed transmission cable across the Pacific Ocean when completed in three years.

Expected to be completed in 2024 and spanning over 15,000 km, the Bifrost Cable System is the world’s first subsea cable system that directly connects Singapore to the west coast of North America via Indonesia through the Java Sea and Celebes Sea.

It will connect Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Guam, and the west coast of North America.

“We are pleased to partner Converge through Bifrost, which is a significant transnational infrastructure project, enhancing the inter-connectivity between ASEAN countries,” remarked Keppel T&T CEO Thomas Pang.

“Through this partnership, we will be able to accelerate the growth of our connectivity platform, which is in line with Keppel’s Vision 2030, as well as explore synergies with not only Keppel’s data centres, but also Converge’s data centre business,” he elaborated.

“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,” according to Converge CEO Dennis Anthony Uy.

“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,” he elaborated.

“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,” according to Uy.

“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.”

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing internet markets.

According to a report from Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, as many as 40 million people in six countries across ASEAN, including the Philippines, came online for the first time in 2020, increasing the total number of internet users in those Southeast Asian countries to 400 million — or nearly 70 percent of the population.