telecommunications companies

Converge Earth station for satellite broadband ready by end-2021

Aika Rey
Converge Earth station for satellite broadband ready by end-2021

SPACEX DEAL SOON? A Converge Fiber Fast business center.

Converge ICT Solutions

Converge aims to provide reliable internet in 2,000 public schools using low-Earth satellites starting 2022

Listed fiber provider Converge ICT Solutions said its Earth station, part of its ambitious plan to reach far-flung areas with satellite broadband service, is nearing completion.

In a briefing on Thursday, November 11, Converge chief executive officer Dennis Anthony Uy said the company will make announcements on its planned partnership with tech mogul Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the “proper time.”

But he told reporters that an Earth station is being constructed at a 5-hectare property in Angeles City, Pampanga, and that it should be up by the end of 2021. An Earth station is the ground segment of space and satellite communications systems.

“The equipment will arrive next week, installed before December. This Earth station will be up before the end of the year,” Uy said.

The satellite broadband service will make use of low-Earth orbit satellites and will complement Converge’s fiber services, according to Uy.

He said Converge will be able to provide reliable internet in 2,000 public schools starting 2022.

“This is for underserved and unserved areas and the public schools. We will make sure by next year we will serve 2,000 public schools to deliver this education platform for our public school students,” Uy said.

The Converge CEO also said the company will be hosting “more technology providers and not just SpaceX.”

“So many providers we can host because the digital infrastructure of Converge is in place. So, anyone who wants to bring the space [would be] ready to knock on our door because the digital highway was already built,” said Uy.

Aside from Converge, SpaceX is also in talks with another Filipino company, Arsenio Ng’s Transpacific Broadband Group International.

Growth sustained

On Thursday, Converge announced that its bottom line grew 137% to P5.2 billion for the first nine months. It is on track to earning double its 2020 profits of P3.38 billion.

Revenues for its residential business almost doubled from January to September at P16.37 billion, which is the bulk of the gross revenues amounting to P18.83 billion.

Its customer base also widened, as Converge entered the Visayas and Mindanao markets. For the first three quarters, residential subscribers breached the 1.5-million subscriber mark.

Total homes passed also reached over 9.6 million, accelerating its target of covering 55% of the population, originally by 2025, to 2023 instead.

Its enterprise business, meanwhile, saw an 8.5% uptick in revenues to P2.46 billion. The key driver of enterprise growth is the reselling of bandwidth capacity of its local and international fiber cables to enterprise and telecom clients on a wholesale basis.

Converge chief operations officer Jesus Romero also said wholly-owned subsidiary Converge ICT Singapore was set up during the quarter. The Singapore unit will focus on marketing international cable systems.

For the first nine months, Converge’s capital expenditures totaled P18.2 billion. The company recently completed its P6-billion submarine cable project connecting the Visayas and Mindanao to its backbone.

Converge shares closed 3.24% higher at P35 apiece. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.