PLDT, Meralco back to zero on broadband-over-power-lines project

Rappler.com
Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), both utility controlled by holding firms led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, have been testing the broadband-over-power-lines plans for the past two years, but are held back by lack of expertise

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s biggest power retailer and the market leader in the telecommunications industry are back to zero with their plans to integrate services via the long-planned broadband over power lines (BOPL) project

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), both utility controlled by holding firms led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, have been testing the BOPL plans for the past two years, but are held back by lack of expertise.

A vendor supplier from Germany has offered to use its technology for a pilot test, but according to Meralco vice president for customer retail services Alfredo Panlilio, that supplier was not who they need.

“It turns out that he is only a consultant. We want to deal directly with an expert,” Panlilio said in a chance interview, stressing that they are still scouting for an expert to assist them.

Broadband internet service is being delivered over Meralco’s power lines on a pilot test basis since August 2009 in Malabon. Officials had anticipated that the service trial was supposed to last only for 3 months before it is done on a wide scale basis.

“At that time, there were interference problems that caused the delay in the commercial launch,” Panlilio said.

Their vendor then was an American company whose technology, according to Panlilio, was reportedly being deployed in Russia.

“We were not pleased with the results. The service level was not good. The speed was so slow which probably why the bandwidth can’t take the interference,” Panlilio explained.
 
As such, the project is still on hold. “We are now back to zero. We are scouting for another technology, another partner. We haven’t found one yet. There’s no development. We will see if we can pursue it this year,” said the Meralco official.  
 
PLDT and Meralco want to provide wired broadband services in areas not currently reached by PLDT facilities or in areas where such facilities are already exhausted. The results of these pilot tests will guide them in determining the scope and coverage of the project, which will drive the investment requirements.
 
This project is expected to make Internet more accessible. Currently, only 20 million out of the population of almost 100 million can go online. – Rappler.com

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