Globe brings Fiber to Binondo SMEs, eyes $2B rollout
MANILA, Philippines – Globe Telecom plans to spend around $2 billion to spread high-speed broadband across the country and has found a template for what it hopes to be a quicker rollout of its high-speed Fiber broadband in Chinatown.
Globe had previously asked for local government support in speeding up the regulatory process and clearing up right of way issues so that it could install network infrastructure faster.
“In reality when you look at mobile network speeds we’re actually competitive to peers in the region. Where we suffer is in wired (or fixed line) connections such as DSL connections which is quite small and hasn’t kept pace with our peers,” said Globe chief commercial officer Albert de Larrazabal.
He continued: “Last year alone, we had a budget of $850 million dollars to spend to improve networks but we were only able to spend $700 million because there are many aspects of the bureaucracy that makes it difficult for us to roll out on a time effective basis. As an example, to put up a single cell site today, you need 25 permits at the minimum and takes up to 9 months on average."
Binondo as proof of concept
In what it calls its proof of concept, the firm partnered with the Manila City government to install fiber broadband throughout the Binondo district, the world’s oldest Chinatown, and one of the main hubs of SME activity in the metro.
“We were able to deploy broadband technology in Binodo only because we were united with the local city government in realizing a vision of developing a connected community where both firms and customers get world class connectivity,” said De Larrazabal.
Typically when a company is trying to put up a cell site tower or lay a fiber optic cable, it goes through individual sectors for permits. There’s no one looking at the process from end to end, De Larrazabal said.
“What this has done has made [securing permits] one conversation and one set of applications because the plan was on a wider area of coverage,“ he explained.
Having this holistic approach with the Manila City government helped Globe knock 3-4 months off the usual 9 month timeframe, Larrazabal added.
Globe hopes to extend this partnership to other local government units as well as private landowners.
The firm will invest around $1 million for the project, which will deliver fiber broadband to 5,000 new businesses and homes around the area. Work begins now and the new network is projected to be ready by July 2016.
The project is the start of Globe’s plan to deploy fiber to 20,000 barangays (villages) and 2 million homes by 2020.
De Larrazabal said that Globe plans to invest heavily laying fiber optic cables as well as to add cell sites for mobile networks commenting “that spending 2 billion dollars over 5 years will be easy”.
Plans tailored to SMEs
De Larrazabal was speaking on the sidelines of the Globe myBusiness day held in Lucky China Town Mall in Binondo on Thursday, April 28.
Tailored specifically towards SMEs, it aimed to highlight the importance of going digital to small businesses. It also served as a launchpad for Globe to announce new enterprise packages for SMEs.
Similar to its consumer plans that bundle popular apps like Spotify or Facebook into a monthly billing cycle, these enterprise solutions also bundle apps which are aimed to increase an entrepreneur’s effectiveness while lowering costs.
Separated into 5 different packages, Connectivity, Operations, Security, Efficiency and logistics each come bundle with specific apps to help in that particular area.
These apps include Shopify an ecommerce platform, which manages inventory; Adblast, which allows for targeted digital advertising within a certain geographical area or age and wifi hub which makes it simple for an establishment to offer its customers wifi.
Also present in the bundles are enterprise stalwarts such as Microsoft’s Office 365.
“Previously these apps were only used by large firms. SMEs before couldn’t afford to subscribe to them but now its more affordable because it of a cloud subscription model,” said Barbie Dapul Vice President of Globe’s SME arm, MyBusiness
The plans were specifically designed to encourage SMEs to go digital as a means for them to scale up and be more globally competitive.
“The digital revolution is definitely happening and these all-in-one packages will help SMEs stay one step ahead in terms of giving value to their business and customers,” she said. – Rappler.com